One of the things I noticed when I moved to London was the availability of different types of baby aubergines, to be found in plastic bowls outside Asian, African or Middle Eastern grocers. They come in the longer, thinner variety or are the size and shape of eggs, in either purple or white. You also get tiny green Thai ‘pea’ aubergines.
Stuffed baby aubergines are made in northern and southern India. I’ve seen Rajasthani recipes stuffed with almonds and Gujarati recipes stuffed with peanuts and/or coconut. Udupi, a coastal city in the southern state of Karnataka is famous for it’s green stuffed baby aubergines, which are filled with coconut but I’ve also seen south Indian recipes using peanuts. I’ve gone for peanuts here as I usually have them in the cupboard, but you could use ground almonds or shredded coconut.
These aubergines are stuffed with a sort of spice paste. Toast the spices beforehand in a dry Teflon frying pan before you use them, this will really bring out the aroma and flavours.
10 baby aubergines
1 tin of chopped tomatoes, blended
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
a pinch of chili
4 tablespoons peanuts
A lidded non-stick frying pan
- Toast the peanuts and grind them to a powder – I used my coffee grinder. You can then toast the spices in a dry Teflon frying pan. Add a little bit of water so you have a paste rather than a powder. Slice the aubergines, almost into quarters but the aubergine should still be in one piece.
- Spread the spice and peanut mixture along the length of the aubergine and set aside.
3. Put the blitzed tin of chopped tomatoes into the Teflon frying pan and add half a teaspoon of salt and a pinch of chili. Put the aubergines in and cover with a lid.
4. Cook over a medium heat (you don’t want the sauce to stick). The aubergines should cook in about twenty minutes and they will be nice and soft. You can add a little more water if the sauce is at risk of sticking and turn the heat down a little.
You could also cook the baby aubergines in coconut milk. I won’t make any pretences about authenticity but they would be delicious.