butternut squash and aubergine subji

this recipe caught my eye in one of the observer food monthly supplements - i have changed it only very slightly. it was in fact 'best reader's recipe' and came from one maya glaser from london, who is in possession of a punjabi mother-in-law.

it is a simple vegetable curry, which made me fall in love with 'normal' curries once more. i think the thai and south indian curries with milder spicing and coconut milk stole my heart for a while but i have made this several times in the last few months.you could of course add cooked chicken or raw prawns to the finished dish if you don't like a fully vegetarian version. i don't think it needs it, much like the thai curry i have blogged about before. you can also vary the vegetables - sweet potato instead of squash would be nice, as would the addition of spinach to wilt into the curry right at the end. i put some curly kale, which is a bit too cabbagey for it but okay in small quantities.

i'd suggest doubling the quantities so you have an extra dinner in the fridge or freezer. like all curries, it gets better once it's been standing around for a while. also, do try and use fresh spices - i know it's nerdy but it does make a difference. i don't suggest you make your own garam masala but grinding the cumin and cardamom does make a difference.

for 2-3

for the base:
1-2 medium-sized onions
3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped
thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
1tsp cumin seeds
2 green chillies, deeseded and chopped
olive oil
salt and pepper
2tsp garam masala
2tsp tumeric
1/2tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tin chopped tomatoes
a handful of fresh coriander, chopped

1 large aubergine, cut into big chunks
1 smallish butternut squash, cut into big chunks - i don't bother peeling them but you can if you don't like the skin
optional: handful of spinach, some button mushrooms, or whatever you fancy

fry the onion, garlic, ginger, cumin seeds and chillies with a pinch of salt in olive oil until soft.

stir in the garam masala, tumeric and cardamom, followed by the chopped tomatoes, and half the coriander. simmer for ten minutes before adding the aubergine and squash, and mushrooms if using. leave to simmer, covered with a lid, for about 45 mins to an hour - or until vegetables are soft. you do need to check about about half an hour as it might start catching - in which case, add a bit of water. if using spinach, throw it in at the last minute and allow it to wilt.


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