I used to be so terrified of aubergines, as they can so easily be cooked in a way that makes them dry, chewy and unpleasant. However, the more you cook with the tricky vegetable, the more you grow to love it. When cooked right, aubergines can have a crunchy, gooey, irresistible texture. To help you also grow fond of aubergine, I decided to pair one with a butternut squash and make this delicious curry. This recipe is bulked up to make a heartier, more substantial curry by adding in red lentils. When the season changes, I prefer to eat more filling, comforting meals. I added numerous spices to create a curry that had a nice level of spice to contrast with the sweetness of the butternut squash. This is a fairly simple recipe to make, it just takes some time for the lentils to cook and to prepare and roast your vegetables at beginning. After that, its just stirring in wonderful flavours, and allowing them to stew and develop until you are ready to serve.
roasted squash & aubergine curry
1 butternut squash (about 1kg)
1 aubergine (300g)
3 tbsp oil
1/4 cup (40g) lentils
3 cups (750ml) water
1 onion (125g)
1 tbsp cumin seeds
2 x 400g tins tomatoes (3 cups worth)
1 tbsp garlic puree
1 tbsp tomato purée
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp medium curry powder
2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp garam masala
5 cm piece fresh root ginger, peeled
1 tbsp vegetable stock powder (I used bouillon) + 1 cup (250ml) boiling water
salt and pepper, to taste
PREHEAT YOUR OVEN TO 240 C / 464 F
1. Chop your butternut squash into large chunks. Peel, then chop into smaller, bite sized chunks. Drizzle a baking tray with oil, and then scatter your butternut squash pieces, and top with salt and pepper to taste. Add into the oven and cook for 25 minutes.
2. Chop your aubergine into bite sized squares, and add onto a separate heatproof dish or baking tray. Drizzle with 2 tbsp oil, and then add into the oven to cook for the next 20 minutes.
3. In the meantime, cook your lentils. Add them into a pan with the 3 cups water and a pinch of salt. Place onto a medium heat and cook for 25 minutes, allowing the water to reduce.
4. As the lentils cook, peel and finely chop your onion. When there are 5 minutes left for the lentils to cook, add the onion into a frying pan on a medium heat and fry for 3-4 minutes, or until golden. Then add in your 1 tbsp cumin seeds and fry for a further minute.
5. By this time, your butternut squash and aubergine should have cooked. Remove from the heat, and then set aside briefly.
6. Now, the water from the lentils should have almost completely reduced. Pour in your onion and cumin seed mixture and stir. Now, pour this mixture into a large wok/pan. When you have poured this in, add in your butternut squash, aubergine and 2 tins of tomatoes. Stir all together.
7. Now add in the garlic puree, tomato puree, cumin, curry powder, chilli powder, coriander, turmeric, garam masala and grate in your ginger. Stir and continue to cook on a low-medium heat for about 5-10 minutes.
8. After this, combine your vegetable stock with the boiling water and pour into your curry. Add in a generous pinch of salt and pepper, stir and cook for a final couple of minutes before serving with rice or whatever else you like.