“Just a handful of ingredients is all it takes to rustle up the most beautiful vegetable curry. All you need is a good, firm aubergine, super-ripe tomatoes, crunchy pistachios, curry paste and some fresh coriander. It’s delicious on its own with rice or poppadoms, but I also love to serve it with a bit of roast chicken or fish. Happy days – what a dish! ”
Cut off and discard the aubergine stalk, then slice lengthways in half. Score a criss-cross pattern in the flesh of each half with a sharp knife. Halve the lemon (if using) and rub it over the aubergine flesh – this will stop it discolouring.
Pour ½ a wine glass of water into a lidded pan on a medium-low heat. Put the aubergine into the pan, , skin-side down, and pop the lid on. Leave to steam for about 8 minutes, or until the pan is almost dry and the aubergine is starting to open up.
Chop your tomatoes, halving or quartering the larger ones and leaving any small ones whole.
Pound the pistachios to a powder with a pestle and mortar to make a nutty crumb, leaving a few bigger chunks for texture. Chop the coriander stalks, reserving the leaves for later.
When the aubergine water has almost disappeared, add a little oil to the pan and push the aubergines flat with a spatula to crisp up the skin.
Add the spice paste to one side of the pan, fry it off a little, then add the coriander stalks and tomatoes, gently turning to coat in the paste. Turn the aubergine halves over and give the pan a little shake. Scatter over the pistachios, then transfer to the oven, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes, or until bubbling and golden. Serve scattered with the reserved coriander leaves.