3 medium Aubergines quartered lengthwise and then cut into chunks.
3 tbsp olive oil
1 cup yellow split peas (soaked in water for 2-3 hours and boiled for 10mins)
2 large onions, peeled and sliced very thin – one for stew – one for garnish.
3-4 TBSP butter/ghee, for frying the onion (extra for the garnish)
1 cup cherry tomatoes
2 cloves garlic minced/crushed
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 cinnamon stick
2 TBSP tomato paste
2 TBSP pomegranate molasses (optional)
2-3 x Limoo amani (or juice of 1 fresh lime)
1 litre Vegetable stock
1. Heat the oven up to 180C and toss the cut aubergine with oil and a sprinkle of salt. Place on a roasting tray lined with baking paper and roast in the oven for 20 min until golden brown and has crispy edges. Set to one side.
2. Heat the ghee or butter in a large frying pan and add one of the sliced onions, sprinkle over the turmeric and cook on a medium heat for 15 mins until browned and golden and reduced in size.
3. Add the garlic to the rest on the onion still in the pan and cook for a further minute and then add the soaked split peas, cherry tomatoes, cinnamon stick & tomato paste . Mix well but take care not to burn this mixtire or it will colour your stew darker than desired.
4. Wash and prick the dried limes – if using – add them to the mixture and then add the hot stock.
5. Cover and simmer for 15 – 20mins minutes till the split peas are almost cooked through.
6. Add the roasted aubergine and the pomegranate molasses and cook for a further 10-15mins seasoning to taste. If you don’t have the dried limes add the fresh lime juice at the end and mix well.
7. While the stew is cooking take your last sliced onion and toss in 1 tbsp flour and some turmeric and salt and fry down gently in a large frying pan with some oil or ghee (about 4-5tbsp) until you have these little yummy umami crispy bits – about 20mins.
7. Garnish with fresh coriander and little matchstick fries (optional but traditional) and some fluffy white basmati rice or chello with a drizzle of saffron and a crunchy Shirazi salad.