Aubergine /eggplant is hands down my favourite vegetable, I love its tender, creamy texture and mild umami taste. It's also great for vegetarian dishes as it has a meaty kind of feel to it.
This stew is fragrant and delicious, perfect for a cosy evening at home.
3 large aubergines (eggplant) peeled and sliced lengthways
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup yellow split peas*
1 egg white, whisked
1 large onion, finely sliced
2 tbsp ghee
1/2 tsp turmeric
350g lamb shoulder, cubed
3 tbsp tomato paste
pinch of saffron powder
3 cups water (more might be needed)
2 medium tomatoes, sliced
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp lime juice
Parsley and basmati rice for serving
Preheat oven to 200°C/ 390°F (180°C fan). Line a large baking tray with parchment paper and lightly grease with oil or ghee.
Salt the aubergines and place in a strainer over a large bowl and allow to sit for 15 minutes.
Rinse the yellow split peas and place them in a saucepan and cover with boiling water. Cook on medium-high heat uncovered, until tender (al-dente) about 30 minutes - 1 hour. Drain and set aside.
Pat dry the aubergines with a clean tea towel. Brush both sides of the aubergine with the egg white and place on the lined and greased baking tray. Place in the oven to bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the tray.
Place a heavy pot on medium-low heat and add the ghee. Once the ghee has melted, add the diced onion. Fry until soft and golden around the edges, then mix in the turmeric and saute for another 2 minutes. Add the lamb and cook while regularly turning until browned all over. Add in the split peas, tomato paste and saffron and mix. Add 2 cups of water and place the aubergines on top, followed by the sliced tomatoes, cover with a lid and simmer for 30 minutes on medium-low.
Check to see if more water is needed, season with salt and pepper and gently mix, cover with the lid on to cook for another 20-30 minutes. Gently stir the lime juice in and sprinkle some parsley to serve.
Serve with fluffy basmati rice, crispy tahdig and enjoy!
*I recommend soaking in water for at least an hour in advance, this reduces cooking time but also helps with digestion.