This dish is etched in my memory forever after a magical moonlit evening spent in the garden of Sumood wa Hurriya. Sumood insisted that I visit her on the evening of a ‘super full moon’, when she gathered a group of her yogi friends and we sat outside, wrapped in scarves under the stars, feasting on her delicious food…every morsel Sumood fed us that night in the garden tasted incredible, including this simple yet flavoursome vegetarian dish.
- 600g aubergines (about 2 large ones)
- 2 tbsp light olive oil, plus more for the aubergines
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 400g can of plum tomatoes
- 400g can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2 tsp sugar (any type)
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground allspice
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- Extra virgin olive oil, to serve
- Chopped coriander, to serve
1. Preheat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas mark 6.
2. Cut the aubergines in half, then into quarters and finally slice them into 2.5cm chunks. Place in a baking tray, drizzle with some light olive oil, sprinkle over a pinch of salt and then toss the aubergines to coat. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until soft.
3. Meanwhile, fry the onion in a large saucepan in 2 tbsp light olive oil until soft and golden (this will take about 15 minutes). Add the garlic and fry for a few minutes before adding the tomatoes, chickpeas, sugar, spices and some salt and pepper. Fill the tomato can up with just-boiled water and add that to the pot, too. Cover and cook for 30 minutes, until the chickpeas are very soft.
4. Add the aubergines and cook for a final 10 minutes, splashing in more hot water if the dish looks dry.
5. Leave to cool to room temperature before drizzling over plenty of extra virgin olive oil and scattering with coriander.
This feature was originally published in the Winter 2018 edition of World Food Tour, available to read here.