A vegetarian Hindu recipe from Jodhpur in one of India’s northern provinces, Rajasthan, this dish has the classic combination of tomatoes and aubergine that you might know from Italian cooking, but with black onion seeds (familiarly known as Nigella) and chilli it is a world apart.

Serves 4 | Prep time: 20 minutes | Cooking time: 1 hour

Ingredients
4 aubergines
1 onion, finely chopped
3 green chillies, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, ground into a paste
2 bay leaves
5cm ginger, grated
½ tsp black onion seeds (Nigella)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp sugar
1 tin chopped tomatoes
10 curry leaves
Vegetable oil
Salt and pepper

Method
Cut the aubergines into wedges, salt and leave in a colander for 10 minutes to remove the bitterness, then wash thoroughly through. Heat the oven to 250 °C. Put the aubergines on a non-stick roasting pan (or one with non-stick spray). Drizzle with the vegetable oil and roast for 15 minutes. Take them out and turn over and roast for another five minutes to make sure both sides are brown. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, heat the vegetable oil, add the curry leaves and, when they pop, add the rest of the spices including the onion, ginger, garlic and bay leaves. Sweat for five to 10 minutes , then add the tomato, sugar, salt and pepper. Fill the tin from the tomato with water and pour it in with the rest of the ingredients. Allow to simmer for 20 minutes until thick and glossy. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Pour the sauce over the aubergines before serving. Boost the dish’s protein component, by cooking a long-grain rice, like Basmati, with lentils to create a bed for the curry.