This week I have been eating as a vegetarian, not because I've suddenly gone off meat, but because I thought it would challenge me to be more creative with my cooking. It is a process I have very much enjoyed, and this Thai aubergine curry has been one of the highlights of the week. Fragrant, full of flavour and using one of my all time favourite vegetables.
For the curry paste
Kick things off by making the curry paste, which consists of two phases. The first being to lightly toast the cloves, cumin seeds, star anise and cardamon seeds for two minutes. Remove from the heat and add to a food processor with the remaining paste ingredients. Blitz until a rough paste forms - this may take a few minutes.
Dice the aubergines into large chunks and add to a pan with a few glugs of olive oil and cook over a medium-to-high heat for ten minutes to brown off.
Use a sharp knife to cut a cross on the bottom of each tomato before placing into a bowl of boiling water. After 15 seconds remove and transfer to a bowl of cold water, allow to cool for a few seconds before removing and peeling. Finely chop the tomatoes.
In a large pan add a little olive oil and the curry paste and cook for two minutes to allow the flavours to release. Now add in the aubergines, tomatoes, coconut milk and vegetable stock. Stir everything together, cover with a lid and allow to cook over a low heat for an hour and a half.
By cooking over a low heat for a longer period of time the aubergine will become melt-in-the-mouth soft and the sauce will reduce down to a thicker consistency.
Garnish with fresh coriander, sliced fresh chilli and crushed peanuts before serving.