Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Aubergine, Green Bean and Cashew Curry

It's not something I'm particularly proud of, but I'm a creature of habit, through and through. I have the same breakfast, every weekday - and, unless I'm meeting someone, exactly the same lunch (if you were wondering, it's a medium salad from the salad bar in the office canteen - and I always have the same ingredients, making my way around the bar in the same order). I've worn my hair in pretty much the same style ever since I had any control over it. I get into weird, obsessive ruts with books, lipsticks, tv programmes, blogs, watching/wearing/reading them over and over again for months. Every day, I walk to work along exactly the same route and take a different (but always exactly the same) route on the way back. Wow, I'm sounding like a barrel of laughs, aren't I?

So I'm afraid to say that, when something tickles my fancy, you see a lot of it round here. And Hugh F-W's Veg Every Day is my newest obsession. We've already blogged two recipes in quick (ish) succession, but there are more to come - and today's is yet another example. What can I say? Every browse through the book just reveals more and more things we want to try. And although the same could be said of the rest of my poor, neglected cookbooks, the brutal truth is that they're up on the shelf and Hugh is lying out on my kitchen table, tempting me. Wait, that sounds wrong. Ignore that last bit.

My point is, there's going to be lots of Hugh around here and today's is another capital W Winner. This was absolutely, positively delicious. We've only started cooking curries around here relatively recently (see this post for the tedious exegesis of My Curry Journey) and this is already far and away my favourite. The sauce is creamy and hot with just enough of a kick, the veg are squidgy and crunchy respectively, and the cashews over the top just tip it over the edge into perfect. I'm serious, perfect. You should really try this.

So delicious was it that, even though we froze half of our big batch, we wanted to eat it again almost immediately - and did so just two days later. Weird obsession? Sorry, nothing I can do about it. You know what I'm like. And you know that the next recipe will be a Hugh one too. Just in case you got any crazy ideas about something unexpected around here.

Aubergine, Green Bean and Cashew Curry
Again, from Hugh F-W's Veg Every Day
Serves 4
For the curry paste (makes enough for 2 curries, but you can freeze it)
- 2 sticks of lemongrass, tough outer layer removed and the rest cut into chunks
- 2 thumb-sized bits of ginger, peeled and cut into chunks
- 6 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
- 5-6 green chillis, deseeded (we only had four but they were quite powerful)
- 2 teaspoons of ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons of ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon of ground turmeric (or we used curry powder because we didn't have any)
For the curry
- 3-5 large aubergines, cut into big chunks (HFW suggests 12 chunks from each aubergine)
- about 6 tablespoons of sunflower oil
- tin of coconut milk
- 300ml of tomato passata
- 300g green beans
- a handful of red lentils (optional)
- handful of cashews 

 First off, make the curry paste by whizzing all the ingredients together with a tablespoon of water - you might need to scrape down the sides a couple of times.

Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a large, non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and cook the aubergine in batches, until lightly browned. As they're done, remove them to a plate lined with kitchen towel and keep cooking the rest, adding more oil as and when you need it.

Add a splash of oil to a large saucepan and put it over a medium heat. Add half the curry paste (the rest will keep in the fridge or freezer) and cook, stirring constantly, for three or four minutes. Then add the aubergines, stir to get them coated with the paste, and cook for another couple of minutes. At this point we also chucked in a handful of red lentils, which worked out really well.

Pour in the passata and coconut milk, and simmer the whole lot, partially covered, for 10 minutes. Add the beans then give it another five minutes' simmering, or until the beans are cooked. Season well and add some chopped coriander if, unlike me, you don't think it's the devil's foliage.

Serve with cashews scattered over the top and some lime wedges if you have them. We didn't, and the world did not end, but I'm sure Hugh knows what he's doing and he recommends it.  

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