Ras al Hanout-Spiced Aubergine

A lovely deeply-flavoured vegetable stew. This is one of those dishes that is all the better for a day in the fridge, during which time the flavours seem to mellow.
Preparation time 20 minutes
Cooking time 1 hour 10 minutes
4-6 serves
Cuisine Middle Eastern
Categories Entree, Main, Side



Peel and roughly chop the onions, then cook them with the oil in a large, heavy-based pan over a moderate heat until they are soft, translucent and sweet.

While the onions are cooking, peel the ginger and cut it into thin, matchstick-like shards. Stir it into the onion along with the sliced garlic and the Ras al Hanout.

Peel and seed the tomatoes and add them to the pan.

Wipe the aubergines, cut the stalks from them and cut them into fat chunks. Without oiling the aubergines, grill them on a ridged cast-iron grill pan till they are starting to soften and have dark grill lines across them. Turn them as you go, so that they are cooked on both sides, removing them as they are ready and replacing them with another batch.

Add them to the onions, then pour in the stock, bring it to boil, then add the coconut milk and a little salt and continue cooking for about 45 minutes at a simmer. The aubergines should be very soft and silky but not actually falling apart.

Lift out the aubergine, tomato and some of the onion with a draining spoon.

Reduce rest of the sauce by boiling for about 5 minutes or so. Now ladle most, but not all of the sauce into a blender and blitz till smooth and thick.

Return the aubergines and the sauce to the pot then chop the mint and coriander leaves and stir them in together with a final seasoning of salt and black pepper.

Serve with rice or couscous.