Not quite a curry, but with just a few fragrant spices and a gentle cook in the oven, you’ll be rewarded with a pot of melting meat and aubergine which will make you oh so happy! And for non meat eaters, read on to the end for a vegetarian alternative.
Ingredients, to serve four with rice
- 3 tbsp oil
- 750g pork cut into bite sized chunks (I used skinless pork belly strips)
- 2 aubergines cut into bite sized chunks
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 5 star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 onions, peeled and very finely diced
- 1 tbsp grated ginger
- 1 red chili, finely chopped
- 1 bunch fresh coriander (separate stems and leaves and finely chop both)
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- Juice of a lime
Heat oven to 200C/180C Fan Oven/Gas 6. Heat the oil in an ovenproof pan that has a lid and fry the meat until browned (you may need to do this in batches), remove from the pan.
Add the aubergine and brown (you may need a little extra oil), remove from the pan and put with the pork.
Now add the sugar to the pan and allow to caramelise slightly, then return the meat and aubergine to the pan with the cinnamon and star anise.
Put the onions, ginger, most of the chili (reserving a little for garnishing) and the chopped coriander stalks into the pan and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the fish sauce and enough water to cover the mixture completely.
Cover and place in the oven for an hour. Remove, stir in most of the coriander and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Garnish with any remaining coriander and chili and serve with boiled rice and vegetables.
For a vegetarian version, omit the pork, and replace with a mixture of robust mushrooms such as brown chestnut and shitake. Substitute the fish sauce with a light soy sauce.
Inspired by a BBC Good Food recipe