Sri Lankan aubergine chutney
Makes 2 x 450g jars | prep 30 mins | total time
- 600g (about 2 large) aubergines
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 2.5cm piece cinnamon stick
- 4 cloves
- 3-4 large dried red chillies, deseeded, or 2 dried red bird eye chillies
- 2 tsp yellow mustard seeds
- 6 tbsp sunflower oil
- 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
- 5cm piece root ginger, peeled and finely grated
- 6 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 red bird eye chillies, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp nigella seeds
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 12 fresh or dried curry leaves
- 250g dark muscovado sugar
- 300ml malt vinegar
This can be eaten straight away but is even better if left for a month to mellow.
- Cut the aubergines into 1.5cm chunks. Toss with 2 teaspoons salt, spread out on a baking tray lined with plenty of kitchen paper, add a layer of paper on top; leave for 30 minutes.
- Heat a large nonstick frying pan on a high heat; add the coriander and fennel seeds, cinnamon stick, cloves, dried chilli and 1 teaspoon of the mustard seeds; toss them around until they darken slightly and start to smell aromatic. Grind to a fine powder in a spice grinder; set aside.
- Return the pan to the heat, add 2 tablespoons of the oil and fry half the aubergine over a high heat, stirring often, for 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Tip into a medium-sized pan and repeat with the remaining aubergine.
Tip An electric coffee grinder can also be used for spices.
- Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in the frying pan and fry the onions for 8-10 minutes, stirring now and then, until golden. Add to the aubergines.
- Add the ground spices to the pan with the aubergines and add the ginger, garlic, fresh chilli, cumin seeds, nigella seeds, turmeric, curry leaves, sugar, vinegar, the remaining teaspoon of mustard seeds and 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a simmer and cook gently for 1 hour, uncovered, stirring now and then, and more frequently towards the end, until the chutney is thick and all the excess liquid has evaporated. It will thicken as it cools. Add a few grindings of black pepper, to taste, towards the end of the cooking time.
- Spoon the chutney into warm sterilised jars. To sterilise, wash jars well and put them on a baking tray in a preheated oven (160°C, fan 140°C, gas 3) for 15 minutes. Use plastic-coated non-corrosive lids. Tighten the lids once cold and label the jars.