Indians use most vegetables in a raita. The cooling effect of dairy or yoghurt-based dishes is an essential part of a thali to balance the meal, while the inclusion of vegetables gives a wonderful texture. Here, roasted aubergines are cooked with cumin, peppercorn and chilli, then mixed with coriander and creamy yoghurt. You can use any vegetable for this dish, including okra, carrots or even potato.
300g aubergines, cut into thick round slices
5 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
160g Greek yoghurt, thinned with about 3 tbsp water
Pinch of sugar
Salt, to taste
1/2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder or mild chilli powder
Chopped coriander, to garnish
- Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Put the aubergine slices on a lined baking tray. Brush all the slices with the oil and roast in the oven for 30 minutes.
- Add the cumin seeds and peppercorns to a pestle and mortar and grind to a coarse powder. Put the yoghurt in a mixing bowl with the sugar and season with salt.
- Place the roasted aubergine in a serving bowl and pour over half the yoghurt. Sprinkle the crushed cumin seeds and peppercorns on top, along with the chilli powder.
- Pour over the remaining yoghurt and garnish with fresh coriander. Serve alongside your favourite curry.
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Thali by Maunika Gowardhan is published by Hardie Grant, price £22. To order a copy for £18.70 until 14 November, go to mailshop.co.uk/books or call 020 3308 9193. Free UK delivery on orders over £20.