I’ve been searching for the perfect aubergine chutney for years, and I think I’ve finally found it. Aditya is a good friend of mine who I worked with at Gymkhana, one of London’s best Indian restaurants. Following a few months of persuasion, he finally gave me his family recipe, which comes all the way from a remote hillside village in Karnataka.
- Yield: 1 kg (a large jar)
- 750 g baby round aubergines
- rapeseed or sunflower oil
- 3 teaspoons nigella seeds
- 25 fresh curry leaves
- 10 green finger chillies, sliced into thirds at an angle
- 200 ml tamarind paste
- 1¼ teaspoons salt
- Take the tops off the aubergines, then quarter them. Place a frying pan on one of the back burners of the hob, pour in 4 cm of oil and heat over a medium flame. Get a plate ready with some kitchen paper on it.
- When the oil reaches 180°C, lower in a small batch of the aubergines and fry for 2 to 4 minutes, until they develop a light golden colour, then remove and place on the plate. Repeat in small batches until you’ve fried all the aubergines.
- Put 6 tablespoons of oil into a frying pan over a medium heat and, when hot, add the nigella seeds and curry leaves. When the leaves crackle, add the green chillies. Stir-fry for a minute, then add the tamarind paste along with 200 ml of water. Cook the paste until the water evaporates and the paste is quite thick, then add the salt and the fried aubergines. Stir-fry for a couple of minutes, and take off the heat.
- When the chutney has cooled, transfer to a scrupulously clean jar and refrigerate. It will keep for 2 to 3 weeks in the fridge.