Paneer-stuffed aubergine in red lentil and coconut sauce
Source: ‘The Guardian website’ – Yotam Ottolenghi
3large aubergines cut lengthways into 0.5cm-thick slices
Salt and black pepper
6shallots, peeled and finely chopped
5cmpiece ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1red chilli, deseeded and finely diced
40fresh curry leaves (frozen from fresh is fine too)
1tspblack mustard seeds
2tspmedium curry powder
strips lime peel from 1 lime, plus the juice of 1 lime
100glarge spinach leaves
220gpaneer, broken into 2cm chunks
10gcoriander for cooking
5gcoriander, roughly chopped, to serve
Heat the oven to 220C. Lay out the aubergine slices on two large oven trays lined with baking paper. Brush with two tablespoons of oil and sprinkle it generously with salt and a good grind of black pepper. Turn over the aubergine slices and repeat, then roast for 30 minutes, until cooked through and golden brown. Leave to cool.
Put two tablespoons of oil in a large sauté pan on a medium-high heat. Once hot, add the shallots and fry for eight minutes, until golden brown. Add the leftover aubergine, the ginger, the chilli and half the curry leaves, cook for two minutes, then add the spices, tomato paste, strips of lime peel and lentils.
Stir for a minute, then add the coconut milk, 800ml water and a teaspoon of salt. Turn down the heat to medium and leave to simmer for 20 minutes, stirring once in a while, until the lentils are soft and the sauce is thick. Pour into a large enough baking dish to accommodate the stuffed aubergine later and set aside.
Take a aubergine slice and put a few spinach leafs (or just one if there are really big) on top. Put a piece of paneer in the middle, then roll up the aubergine, from the thinner end at the top down to the thicker bottom end, so the paneer is encased.
Put the aubergine rolls seam-side down in the lentil sauce, and repeat with the remaining aubergine, spinach and paneer. You should end up with about 16-20 rolls, all sat snugly in the sauce. Press the rolls gently into the sauce, but not so far that they are submerged.
Bake the aubergine for 15-20 minutes, until they are golden brown on top and the sauce is bubbling. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for five minutes. Drizzle the aubergine rolls with the lime juice and serve with coriander sprinkled on top.
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