This is one of my favourite Marag (which means curry in Iraqi / Arabic.) because it has aubergines (eggplant) which I simply love and it also reminds me of my childhood dinners. Knowing I am going eat mum’s cooking after a boring tasteless school lunch puts some excitement in my day ! Sad you may think, but to me it was something to look forward to, especially on the frequent rainy days in London, it became one of my ‘home’ meals .
Iraqi marag or curry has these basic elements, fried onions, fried garlic, tomato paste, turmeric, seven spices and seasoning. This is the foundation of all marag. You can modify it by adding potato, aubergine, tomatoes, beans, courgette, okra etc.. The trick is not to over dose the marag with vegetables. Marag can be vegetarian or with white or red meat. This is why marag (Iraqi curry) is so versatile, easy and cater for all dietary requirements. C’est facile non ?
I am using one large aubergine (eggplant) as I am the only one in my family who likes it (am still working on them, not giving up). You can modify the amount of garlic you want o use and the thickness. My husband likes his marag really think so I simmer it for longer and add more tomato paste (the whole small can in the photo). By all means you can add tomato chucks to the marag so it gives it extra thickness. If you can’t find 7 spice replace it with cumin or ground spices. I am using lamb meat that I cut into small cubes (so it cooks quicker) you can use any meat or non.
1 large aubergine
1 large white onion
2 cloves of garlic
2 large white potatoes
2 large tomatos
2 full tablespoons of tomato paste
2 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoon 7 spices
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
Step 1-Chop the meat (if using meat) into small to medium pieces. Chop the potatoes and aubergine into any shape and tomato into round slices. Chop the onions and garlic into small slices.
Step 2- Sprinkle generously the aubergine with salt and leave aside. This helps to take the moister out so it doesn’t soak up so much oil as aubergines are famous for.
Step 3- In a frying pan fry the aubergine and potatoes separately and set aside.
Step 4-In a pot fry the meat with the oil till brown and then add the onion and garlic.
Step 5- Add two full tablespoons of tomato paste, add more if you want it to be very thick. Mix well and add the spices.
Step 6-Add water and stir. Of course the more water you add the more sauce you have and less thick. This depends on your taste. Let it boil for 40 min or until the meat is cooked.
Step 7-Once the meat is tender and cooked well add the fried potatoes, aubergines and sliced tomato gently into the pot. Cook for 20 minutes or until potato is cooked. Be careful not to over cook as the aubergine and potato will fall apart. But it will still taste delicious.
Serve hot with white rice.