Right, it’s been far too long since I got up amongst some vegan recipes on the blog, so here goes. A beautifully creamy chickpea and aubergine curry that’s easy, vegan and super satisfying. It’s not a totally authentic vegan Thai curry, as to be honest, not many of those seem to exist! But I would certainly call it Thai inspired, as the familiar flavours of kaffir lime, lemongrass and coriander are all there. If you’re after a crowd pleasing vegan curry, this could be the one…
When it comes to vegan cooking, the aubergine has got to be king. Golden and caramelised flesh, that’s soft and creamy inside, pure heaven. Yotam Ottolenghi is definitely the guru of cooking aubergines and ever since I tried my first Ottolenghi aubergine recipe (from his excellent book), I was completely hooked. Charring them first on a griddle pan is definitely optional, but it does tart them up and make them look extra special, whilst adding a touch of smokiness to the dish too. If you’re making this for friends and want to get ahead, griddle and roast the aubergines ahead of time. They’ll keep absolutely fine in the fridge for two or three days and just need 5 minutes in a hot oven to warm back through before serving. This aubergine curry would be special enough as is, but double chickpeas really help seal the deal.
Double chickpeas? Yup, chickpeas two ways. The first is as simple as banging a can of them into the aubergine curry to warm through. If you’re after a high protein vegan recipe, chickpeas are definitely your friend. 18 grams of protein per can is not to be sniffed at. Plus they’re loaded with healthy fibre to keep things, well…you know, ticking along nicely. The second way with chickpeas is definitely my favourite. Crispy, roasted chickpeas. They’re so easy and so delicioius. Just rinse, dry and spread out on a baking tray. A touch of oil and seasoning, then a very hot oven. Before you know it, they’re golden, crispy and VERY moreish. Humans are so addicted to that crisp, crunchy texture but so often it comes from less healthy places, like chips or crisps. Crispy chickpeas are perfect. They really satisfy that textural craving, but are packed with goodness too. I’ve found that our little girl absolutely loves them! They’re the perfect snack so whip up a big batch, cool fully and keep in an airtight container for easily accessible, healthy snacks.
The chickpea and aubergine curry works great as is, but if you want one last element to make this extra special, try adding a little Indian tadka to the finished dish. A tadka (or tarka), is where you temper spices and other ingredients in a pan with a touch of fat (usually ghee but here I’ve used oil). This brings out their flavours and enhances their texture too. You then spoon it over the finished curry for an extra flavour hit. Sure this is more Indian cooking, but it still works really well with the Thai flavours that are going on. Typically I’d include a little chilli here, but to keep the dish more family friendly, I just went with onion, garlic and mustard seeds. There’s still a gentle warmth to the curry from the ground black pepper, but nothing hot.
I tend to stick to a fairly low carb diet, so I serve the curry with mountains of greens, but it would go really well, with this cauliflower rice and some naans too. I really hope you enjoy the curry and if you’d like some more inspiration for high protein vegan meals, this one is a really popular one too. Have a great weekend everyone!
Get ahead – The cooked aubergines keep in the fridge for 2-3 days. The chickpeas store well in an airtight container. The sauce will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days too. Warm the aubergines in the oven. Gently heat the sauce on the hob. Serve the chickpeas at room temp. This chickpea and aubergine curry is essentially a super easy assembly job.
CHICKPEA AND AUBERGINE CURRY – HIGH PROTEIN VEGAN MEALS
- 6 coriander stalks finely chopped
- 4 kaffir lime leaves finely sliced
- 2 tsp ground turmeric
- 2 garlic cloves crushed
- 2 sticks lemongrass tough outer removed, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- A splash of water to loosen
- 1 can cooked chickpeas drained, rinsed and patted dry
- 1 tbsp olive oil
Other curry ingredients
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 large aubergine trimmed, then halved lengthways. Cut each half into 6 long wedges.
- 400 ml lighter coconut milk
- Soy sauce to taste
- 1 lime juiced
- 1 can cooked chickpeas rinsed and drained
- 100 g green beans
- 100 g kale or savoy cabbage
- Coriander and mint leaves to garnish
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 red onion finely sliced
- 1 garlic clove finely sliced
- Preheat oven to 200°C or 390°F. Blitz curry paste ingredients in a blender. Add a little water to loosen.
- For the crispy chickpeas, pour the drained chickpeas onto a baking tray. Drizzle with oil & season with salt & pepper.
- Meanwhile, toss the aubergines in oil. On a hot griddle pan, char the aubergines for 3 minutes on each side. Arrange on baking tray. Roast the chickpeas & aubergines in the oven for 15 minutes.
- Add the curry paste to a saucepan & sweat over a medium heat for a couple of minutes. Slowly stir in the coconut milk. Add a good splash of soy sauce & the lime juice. Taste. Add more soy or lime as required. Add remaining can of chickpeas & warm through.
- After 15 minutes. check the aubergines & shake the chickpeas. If the aubergines are golden & soft, remove from oven & keep warm. If not, cook for a further 5. Check the chickpeas every 5 until they are crunchy, but remove from the oven before they start to burn.
- In salted water, boil the greens for 2 or 3 minutes until vibrant & tender, drain well. Arrange on plates/bowls. Divide the aubergines & sauce between the plates. Top with crispy chickpeas, fresh herbs & tadka if you wish. Serve
- Warm the oil in a small frying pan. Add the mustard seeds. When they start to pop (have a lid ready!), add the onion and garlic. Stir well until golden. Spoon over the curry.