Aubergine and potato dhansak

  • Serves: 4
  • Credit: Neven Maguire


- 2 tbsp Donegal Rapeseed Oil
- 4 whole cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 tsp black mustard seeds
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 5cm (2in) root ginger, peeled and finely grated
- 1 x 400g (14oz) tin of chopped tomatoes
- 225g (8oz) waxy potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 75g (3oz) red lentils
- 1 small aubergine, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp ground coriander
- 1 tbsp ground turmeric
- 1 tbsp sweet paprika
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- 200g (7oz) coconut cream
- 900ml (1½ pints) vegetable stock
- 275g (10oz) small cauliflower florets
- 75g (3oz) baby spinach leaves
- 3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander, plus extra leaves to garnish
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- steamed fragrant rice topped with sizzling oil, to serve
- plain natural yogurt, to garnish

Steamed fragrant rice:
- 350g (12oz) basmati rice
- 1 tbsp Donegal Rapeseed Oil
- 4 whole cloves
- 4 green cardamom pods, cracked
- 5cm (2in) piece of cinnamon stick
- 1 bay leaf
- 600ml (1 pint) boiling water
- ½ tsp salt


  • Heat the oil in a large pan set over a medium heat, then add the cloves, cinnamon stick, mustard seeds and cumin seeds and allow to sizzle for 20 seconds. Reduce the heat to low and add the onion, garlic and ginger. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned.
  • Add the tomatoes, potatoes, lentils, aubergine, ground cumin, ground coriander, turmeric, paprika and chilli powder to the onion mixture. Pour in the coconut cream and 600ml (1 pint) of the stock, season to taste and bring slowly to the boil. Reduce to a simmer for 20–25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are quite soft and have almost disintegrated into the sauce and the vegetables are just beginning to soften.
  • Add the cauliflower and the remaining stock, cover and simmer for another 15–20 minutes, until all the vegetables are tender. Stir the spinach into the curry and cook for 1–2 minutes, until just wilted, then stir in the chopped coriander.
  • To serve, arrange the aubergine and potato dhansak on warmed plates with the steamed fragrant rice topped with the sizzling oil. Garnish each plate with a dollop of natural yogurt and the coriander leaves.
  • Wash the rice in numerous changes of cold water until the water runs relatively clear. Cover with more cold water and leave to soak for 7 minutes, then drain well.
  • Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan that is approximately 20cm (8in) in diameter. Add the cloves, cardamom pods, cinnamon stick and bay leaf and cook gently over a low heat for 1–2 minutes, until they start to smell aromatic.
  • Stir in the rice and add the boiling water and salt, then quickly bring to the boil. Stir once, cover with a tight-fitting lid, reduce the heat to low and cook over a low heat for 12 minutes. Uncover, fluff up the grains with a fork and serve at once.
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Rhonda Laird

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