Spiced Aubergine with chick peas
500g (1 lb 2 ozs) aubergines
250ml (8 fl ozs/1 cup) approximate extra virgin olive oil
2 inches (5cm) cube of fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
12 large cloves of garlic, peeled and coarsely crushed
110ml (4 fl ozs/1/2 cup) water
2 teaspoons whole fennel seeds
1 tablespoon (1 American tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) whole cumin seeds
700g (1 1/2lbs) very ripe tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped or 2 x 400g (14ozs) tin tomatoes + 1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons (2 1/2 American tablespoon) freshly ground coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more if you like)
100g (3 1/2ozs) raisins
250gr cooked chick peas
Cut the aubergine into 3/4 inch (2cm) thick slices. Heat 175ml (6 fl ozs/3/4 cup) of oil in a deep 10-12 inch (25-30cm) frying pan. When hot, almost smoking, add a few aubergine slices and cook until golden and tender on both sides. Remove and drain on a wire rack over a baking sheet. Repeat with the remainder of the aubergines, adding more oil if necessary. Alternatively brush generously with extra virgin olive oil and cook on a hot pan-grill.
Put the ginger, garlic and water into a blender. Blend until fairly smooth.
Heat 3 tablespoons (4 American tablespoons) of oil in the frying pan. When hot, add the fennel and cumin seeds, (careful not to let them burn). Stir for just a few seconds then put in the chopped tomato, the ginger-garlic mixture, coriander, turmeric, cayenne and salt. Simmer, stirring occasionally until the spice mixture thickens slightly, 5-6 minutes
Add the chick peas
Add the fried aubergine slices and raisins, and coat gently with the spicy sauce. Cover the pan, turn the heat to very low and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Serve warm.
The spiced aubergine mixture is also good served cold or at room temperature as an accompaniment to