Yes, the aubergine – delicious in dips, smokey and rich, and yet equally at home in a spicy, lip-smacking curry, the aubergine is a vehicle for flavour without compare. I think my love affair began when I would take home small scoops of baba ghanouj, a levantine dip of smoked, roasted aubergine, with tahini and lemon, after school from my local turkish deli. Savouring the creamy, salty and yet slightly bitter paste, I was transported away from deary England to an oasis, filled with travellers from across the desert, sharing tales and eating. What an innocent, and dull, life I lived.
In a family that ate very little meat, aubergines were used to great effect – they’re a traditional northern Indian vegetable, and as such made their way into the innumerable packed curry lunches that I faithfully took to school – not that I can complain, for those curries were the highlight of the week, compared to the Thermos of Dal from which I usually sipped. So you could say that the aubergine and I have quite the history – and to this day, it is still one of my favourite vegetables.
And yet, some people are still so afraid of purple beast that they decry it as bitter, or seedy – allegations that are so rarely true in this day and age. I would encourage you all to venture forth and try the recipe below with aubergines, as it really is very simple and much tastier than many of the kale and quinoa vegetarian dishes floating around.
If that doesn’t take your fancy, however, I am reliably informed that aubergines also have a number of non-culinary uses, mainly as a sex toy for the enthusiastic experimenters who have gone well past the root vegetable size, and are looking for something with a bit more girth. I can’t condone these uses, but I admire their efforts – some of the aubergines I’ve seen have been the size of my forearm. Whichever way you use your aubergine, I hope you enjoy it.