AUBERGINE AND SQUASH STEW AFGHANI STYLE

AUBERGINE AND SQUASH STEW AFGHANI STYLE

This is a brilliant vegetarian or vegan winter warmer which can be made ahead and reheated, or frozen in batches, making it perfect for a healthy and hearty mid week dinner. Don't be put off by the long list of ingredients as it's actually pretty quick to make. 

INGREDIENTS (serves 2-4 depending on appetite or double up to make a larger batch)

  • 1 tbsp of rapeseed oil
  • 1 large or 2 medium onions finely sliced
  • 1 tsp of cumin seeds
  • 3-4 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • thumb sized piece of ginger finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground tumeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 butternut squash peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1 aubergine cut into cubes
  • small bag of spinach or 3-4 frozen spinach cubes
  • small can of chopped tomatoes 
  • 400g can of chickpeas drained
  • zest of an unwaxed lemon
  • 2 tbsps of pine nuts toasted
  • small handfull of sultanans
  • 2 tbsps of natural yogurt (or dairy free alternative)
  • 2 tsps of garam masala
  • large handful of chopped mint

METHOD

  1. In a large saucepan or casserole pan heat the oil then add the cumin seeds and onions and fry on a low heat until lightly golden - around 5 minutes
  2. Whilst this is doing, in a small frying pan add the pine nuts on a medium heat and toast until they start to colour, then set aside
  3. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli and fry for a few more minutes - if it looks like it's catching add some water. Burnt garlic is not nice!
  4. Next add the other spices - cumin, coriander, tumeric, cinnamon and nutmeg and cook them for a few more minutes
  5. Add the tomatoes, aubergine, squash, lemon zest, chickpeas, sultanas and pine nuts and add around 300-500 ml of water depending on the consistency you want. 
  6. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes
  7. Check the aubergine and squash are cooked then add the spinach, garam masala and yogurt. Allow the spinach to wilt then season and serve. I like it with brown basmati rice and flatbreads. 

Notes: For a more intense flavour you can roast the aubergine and squash beforehand until nicely caramelised. This will reduce the simmering stage.