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Breakfast, Curry & Daal, Dips & Sides, Drinks, Mains, Salads, Sweet Treats.

28/11/14

Oro

Serves 2-4

  • Onion 1

  • Tomato 1

  • Eggplant 1

  • Spring onions 7

  • Oil 2 tablespoons

  • Mustard seeds ½ teaspoon

  • Fenugreek seeds ¼ teaspoon

  • Cumin seeds ¼ teaspoon

  • Turmeric powder ½ teaspoon

  • Coriander powder ½ teaspoon

  • Cumin powder ½ teaspoon

  • Salt 1 teaspoon

  • Garlic, Ginger & Chilli paste 1 spoon

  • Red chilli powder (optional) ¼ teaspoon

  • Coriander leaves Handful, chopped

Method

Make long slits along the eggplant and place in the oven for around 45 minutes. When it is nearly done, heat the oil, add the mustard, fenugreek and cumin seeds, and wait the mustard seeds start to pop before adding the onions. Once the onions are brown, add most of the spring onions and tomatoes. Let this cook for a few minutes before adding all the masalas, garlic, ginger and chilli paste as well as salt. Now peel the skin of the eggplant and mash the inner flesh. Add this into the curry paste, along with the rest of the spring onions, and let it cook for around 10 minutes. Garnish with coriander before serving.

Oro

I went to a new Gujarati restaurant while I was in Dubai recently, nothing flamboyant or extravagant, but serving the most authentic and delicious food. The Oro, barbequed aubergine curry, in particular, served traditionally with rotlo, a millet roti with fresh ghee melted on top, was my absolute favourite. When I went into the kitchen to learn a thing or two from the Mahraj, the cook, who had come from Jaipur, what I realised is that while oro is a very simple curry to cook, it’s the abundance of chopped spring onions used that really brings out the flavour and brings to life this simple curry. And so I have adapted my own recipe by adding a very large quantity of spring onions. I thought I would also add the fabulous video I took of the fire he created so adeptly in the pan.

You’ll find this recipe in Saffron Soul, in the thali section

The complex richness of the flavour is entirely at odds with the simple method – and it really is quite simple. Aubergines usually require a lot of oil to cook, but softening the aubergine in the oven first means you don’t need more than a teaspoon of oil.

This dish – the oro and rotlo – reminds me of meals I’ve had in Gujarati villages, in such dim light that I can never thankfully tell how much oil might be gleaming on the surface of the curry or how much ghee is spread onto the otherwise dry rotlo.

This time, though, I’m eating the curry on crispy corn thins. Mixing it up!

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