So it was the weekend and it was BBQ time, except no BBQ in our garden. The thunder was rolling in the skies and the rain drip drip dripping.
I was inspired to make these Tandoori Butterflied Aubergines by Sarah Beattie from her cookbook Meat-Free Any Day. But I didn't follow the recipe completely, for a start Sarah grills her Tandoori Butterflied Aubergines over white-hot embers. Mine conjured up no smoke, no flames and no associated BBQ smells. Mine were simply baked in the oven, on a baking sheet covered with foil. It worked remarkably well.
To be honest, this is how my family have come to make Tandoori chicken. My father wishes for a traditional Tandoor - clay oven, but settles for his Tandoori chicken baked/roasted in the oven. If he did ever get his wish granted, I would be over for Tandoor Naan breads, cooking them straight on a hot tandoor oven imparts a flavour that is hard to capture on a skillet or even from an oven. Sarah Beattie rightly points out that in the U.K we have come to accept food marinated in red (paprika) or yellow (turmeric) spiced coloured yogurt as 'Tandoori'.
I have to point out in addition to baking these Tandoori Butterflied Aubergines, I have cheated a little further mostly for ease and laziness after all this was meant to be a chilled out BBQ afternoon. I confess and put my hands up and admit that I did not make my own tandoori spice blend. Instead I asked my sister in law to fill me a small jar of tandoori paste and that made for easy cooking, well I don't do it that often so cut me some slack.
The finished dish was served with some Puy Lentil Pilav style rice.
Baked Tandoori Butterflied Aubergines
Serves 2 - 4
2 large aubergines, sliced in half lengthways, keep the stalk
200ml plain yogurt
3 teaspoons tandoori paste
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt to taste
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
Slice the aubergines in half, lengthways - keep the stalk in tact.
Score the surface in criss-cross with a sharp knife, trying not to pierce through the aubergine.
In a large bowl, combine all the remaining ingredients and stir well.
Then spoon and carefully rub the Tandoori spiced yogurt all over the aubergine, ensuring it is seeps into the grooves of the criss cross.
Put onto a baking sheet lined with foil. And transfer to fridge to marinade for a few hours.
When ready, transfer to a preheated oven gas mark 5/200oc and bake for 25 - 35 minutes or until golden and cooked through, test with a knife if the knife passes through easily, it is ready.
Optional: Finish off under the hot grill for a few minutes if you want that charred look.
Serve immediately. Adapted and Inspired by Sarah Beattie's Meat-Free Any Day: Food For All Reasons.