Aubergines and me. Well, sometimes it’s a difficult relationship.
You see I love aubergines (known in Jamaica as Garden Egg) but without a greenhouse that can be a love that in some summers is unrequited. Aubergines like long hot summers and this year the temperature has been a little temperamental and with night-time figures on the thermometer not being at all ideal for this tender crop.
So, this year I bought some local organic ones to make one of my favourite dishes – Eggplant Rundown.
“Rundown” is the Jamaican term for the process of cooking coconut milk down or reducing coconut milk until it makes a lovely thick custard which is then mixed with herbs and spices to produce a delicious type of sauce to which vegetables are then added and cooked into a stew. This is slow cooking heaven. Most Caribbean islands have a version of rundown. In other parts of the Caribbean it is also referred to as Oil Down. Take a look at the Oil Down national dish for Grenada which is utterly mouthwatering.
However, for convenience it easier to use coconut milk as a substitute which is readily available and equally delicious.
This recipe is an adaptation of an recipe I originally saw at Hybrid Rasta Mama but I’ve added slightly different flavours with the addition of green cardamom and pimento (allspice) to give it a lifting fragrance and the stronger flavour.
For the beedy-eyed of you, you’ll notice that there isn’t any salt in this recipe. I wanted this recipe to be truly “ital” so there is no salt added. There is so much flavour here that you’ll find there really isn’t any need to. Which is great for watching your salt in take :-).
Eggplant Curry Rundown
- 3 large aubergines
- 2 tsp coconut oil
- 3 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
- 1 medium sized onion (finely chopped)
- 1 scotch bonnet pepper (left whole)
- 2 tsp grated ginger
- 1/2 tsp green cardamom seeds
- 3 heaped tsp mild curry powder
- 1 large tomato (diced)
- 4 cups coconut milk
- 1/2 tsp pimento
- pinch black pepper
- 5 sprigs thyme
Peel the aubergines and cut in large cubes. Set aside (you can put them into a bowl of lemon water to stop discolouration).
Gently heat the coconut oil. Add the onions, garlic, ginger and cardamom and gently sauté until you can begin to smell the fragrances coming through.
Add the aubergine, tomato and curry powder and stir to coat the vegetables in the flavours.
Pour in the coconut milk and stir the ingredients together. Add the pimento, black pepper and thyme.
Turn the pot down and let the curry gently simmer for around 20-25 mins.
Add the scotch bonnet whole to the sauce. What you want is the fruity flavour of the pepper not the raw heat. Cook for another 20 mins. The curry is done when the aubergines are really soft. Remove the Scotch Bonnet pepper.
It’s perfect served with brown rice or eaten on its own. It will keep in the fridge overnight.