Ask any Gujarati and they’ll rave about their mum or gran’s Ravaiya (stuffed aubergine curry). It’s in our nature. There is no love greater than the love you feel when you eat these hand-stuffed baby aubergines.
2tbspgram flourtoasted in a dry pan until aromatic and lightly golden
1tbspground coriander seeds
1tbspground cumin seeds
1/4tspasafoetida(check the packaging if preparing for anyone with a gluten allergy/intolerance)
4large cloves garliccrushed
½tspred chilli powder
50gfresh corianderfinely chopped
3tbspany cooking oil
1/8tspbicarbonate of soda
For the tomato sauce:
1tbspany cooking oil
¼tspred chilli powder
Chopped red onionto serve
Fresh coriander leavesto serve
Combine all of the ingredients for the stuffing except for the oil in a bowl.
Heat three tablespoons of oil in a small saucepan until hot and shimmering. Slowly and carefully pour the oil onto the peanut mix and stir to combine well. Set aside to cool.
Trim the tops of the aubergines. I like to leave a little stalk for pretty presentation. Slit the aubergines crosswise from the bottom, almost all the way through, leaving the stalk area uncut. Place the aubergines in a bowl filled with cold water to stop them oxidising inside and to keep them perky.
Stuff each aubergine with the peanut masala – don’t be afraid to use clean hands to do this; just get right in there. You should have a little bit of the stuffing left over – keep it aside. If you don't want to use your hands, you can use a butter knife to stuff them.
Fit a large pan with a steaming basket. Place the aubergines in the basket and fill the pan with plenty of hot water. Ensure the bottom of the steamer doesn't touch the water. Cover with a lid and cook over a moderate heat for 12-14 minutes, until the aubergines are tender. A fork should poke through without any resistance.
Meanwhile, to make the sauce, heat one tablespoon of oil in a non-stick pan. Add the mustard seeds and wait for them to pop. Add the cumin seeds, asafoetida, optional curry leaves and leftover stuffing paste. Cook the mixture out for 2 minutes and then add the tomatoes, water, turmeric, chilli powder, salt and sugar. Allow to simmer for 2-3 minutes, stirring all the time. The mixture should begin to thicken slightly.
Add the steamed aubergines and cover with the paste. Be careful not to break them. Cook for a further 2 minutes to heat through. Garnish with fresh coriander if you like. Serve with phulka/roti and chopped red onions.
Store any leftovers in an airtight container and eat within 3 days.
How to freeze Ravaiya
These Ravaiya (stuffed aubergines) freeze beautifully. My preference is to freeze the steamed aubergines in a freezer-safe container and then make the sauce when I want to serve the curry. Just place the defrosted Ravaiya in the sauce and heat through until piping hot.
You can also make the stuffing ahead of time and keep it in the freezer for when you fancy this dish. It's also great for stuffing other vegetables like potatoes, okra, chillies and onions.