So I thought I'd blog about one of things that I made for my MasterChef meal. This aubergine raita is a really nice variation on the traditional cucumber number. It requires a little more effort as you need to cook the aubergine first, but it's definitely worth it. There's not much of a recipe as this is something you'll need to judge by eye and taste, but here are the basic ingredients which will make enough as a side dish for about four people:
1 medium aubergine
Around 250g (half a large pot) Greek yoghurt
Around 2.5tsp ground cumin
Around 1tsp sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
Enough vegetable oil to fry aubergine
Firstly slice the aubergine quite thinly. Put a couple of tablespoons of oil in a (non-stick, ideally) frying pan, heat until pretty hot and then drop in some of the aubergine slices. Unless you have a mahoosive pan you will probably need to cook these in at least a couple of batches. The aubergine will suck up most of the oil before it's cooked through properly, but rather than adding more oil, turn the heat down a little, add a few splashes of water and put a lid over the pan. This allows them to effectively steam and finish cooking. Once you're sure that the slices are all thoroughly cooked through, drain on kitchen roll (if required), and put to one side to cool completely.
In the meantime, roast the ground cumin in a dry pan. I would really recommend grinding your own cumin seeds too, as it makes a big difference to the flavour. Roast over a lowish heat for a few minutes, and you should be able to tell when it's done by the nice smell of....well, roast cumin.
Beat the yoghurt a bit with a fork to lighten it, and then add the cooled aubergine, cumin, sugar, and salt and pepper. You could also use plain natural yoghurt instead, or a mix of that and the Greek version. Mix well and ideally leave to sit for a while for the flavours to mingle.
This raita is perfect with other Indian dishes. I eat it with dry, spicy fish but I imagine it would work well with meat too if you are so inclined.
And finally props to my mother for the recipe, and whichever 'auntie' it was that originally passed it on to her.