This delicious recipe is Tunisian in origin and is an adaptation of Delia Smith’s adaptation of Elizabeth David’s recipe. According to Delia, you should prepare it the day before you serve it but I have to confess to having made it many a time the same afternoon and no one has ever complained!
Its quicker to make than it sounds. You can make the tomato mixture while the aubergine chunks are roasting in the oven, and you dry roast and grind your spices while the tomato mixture is simmering. It’s easy.
It’s important to stick to the spices in this if you want the real depth of flavour. I also encourage you to use whole cumin and allspice berries and dry roast and grind them.
2 medium large aubergines
I large onion chopped
3 cloves garlic – finely chopped
I red chilli finely chopped – or hot chilli flakes
2/3 can diced tomatoes (avoid adding too much of the juice)
I heaped tablespoon tomato puree
4-5 sun dried tomatoes (optional)
I heaped teaspoon cumin
I heaped teaspoon allspice berries
small handful chopped fresh mint
fresh chopped coriander leaves Greek yoghurt
Preheat your oven to 220 C/450.F Cut the aubergine into 1 /2inch cubes. Toss in olive oil, some salt and spread on a baking tray Bake for 25 minutes, until the aubergine chunks are slightly tinged at the edges but still soft and creamy in the centre.
While the aubergine is in the oven, make the tomato mixture. Gently fry the onion, garlic and chilli in olive oil a large skillet for about 5 minutes. When they are pale gold in colour, add the tomato puree, fry briefly, then the tomatoes (not too much juice) and the chopped sun dried tomatoes if using. Allow to cook for about 5 minutes till thick and chunky. It should not be at all watery.
While all that is cooking, dry roast your spices for a minute or so, then remove from the heat and grind to a powder in a mortar and pestle. Take a moment to inhale the intoxicating smell of the roasted spices, then add them to the tomato mixture along with some coarse black pepper and mix.
Once the aubergine is ready, mix it into the tomato mixture and cook gently for a few more minutes so that all the flavours combine. Allow it to cool completely.
When you area ready to serve, preferably after a night in the fridge, sprinkle over the freshly chopped herbs and a good drizzle of olive oil and, if you wish, a dollop of thick Greek yoghurt. Delicious!
Serve as part of a mezze type meal with pitta .