Smoked Aubergine

2 aubergines

1 teaspoon of cumin seeds

a scant teaspoon of coriander

1/2 teaspoon asafoetida

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon garam masala

a pinch of chili (add more or less, as you prefer)

a scant half teaspoon of salt

half a tomato, finely chopped, if desired

a handful or fresh coriander

  1. Wash and dry the aubergines. Put them on a medium to high flame on a gas hob and let them sit there. Rotate them occasionally with a pair of tongs. They will char, go ash-y and start to shrivel before splitting open and starting to ooze; you want them to be nice and soft and falling apart. The kitchen will smell wonderful but the top of the hob will be a right mess. However, if you would like to reduce the amount of cleaning up to be done, put some tinfoil over the hob, as shown below – just lift up the pan supports and cut a hole in the tinfoil to fit the hob. (I learnt this nifty trick from my friend’s mum, Mrs Patel.)
  1. Put the aubergine on a chopping board and let it cool slightly. Scoop the flesh out and chop it up so there aren’t any big lumps. Discard the skin.
  2. Heat a tablespoon of oil over a medium heat and add the cumin seeds. When they darken, add the rest of the spices, stirring to stop them sticking. If you’d like to add the tomato, chuck it in along with a few tablespoons of water, turn the heat down and leave it to reduce and go a bit jam-like. (I don’t normally bother with the tomato – I think my cooking already has too many tomatoes in.) Add the aubergine and stir through.
  3. Garnish with fresh coriander. Whatever you serve it with, make sure there is some yoghurt to go with the aubergine.