Aubergines and tomatoes with black lime and honey recipe

Taste this as it’s cooking and decide whether there’s enough black lime flavour, removing the fruit afterwards - Haarala Hamilton
Taste this as it’s cooking and decide whether there’s enough black lime flavour, removing the fruit afterwards - Haarala Hamilton

If you taste this as it’s cooking you can decide when there’s enough black lime flavour and remove the fruit. They will completely disintegrate if you don’t fish them out, though that’s also fine – they’re soft and just meld with everything else.


Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 1 hour


Four as a main dish, more if it’s a side


  • 4 medium-sized aubergines, cut into 6 wedges lengthways

  • 6 tbsp olive oil

  • 2 onions, finely sliced

  • 4 garlic cloves, very finely chopped

  • 1 green chilli, deseeded and chopped

  • 1 tbsp ground cumin

  • 1 tsp ground turmeric

  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

  • 2½ tbsp tomato purée

  • 4 large plum tomatoes, chopped

  • 3 black limes, each pierced in 3 places

  • 700ml vegetable stock or water

  • 12g coriander, leaves and stalks separated

  • 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses

  • 2½ tbsp honey (or a little more, if you like)

  • seeds from ½ pomegranate


1. Heat the oven to 210C/200C fan/gas mark 6½.

2. In a large bowl, mix the aubergine wedges with four tablespoons of oil. Season and turn the wedges over with your hands. Arrange them on one or two baking sheets with a lip, or in roasting tins. They should lie in a single layer. Roast for 30-40 minutes, until golden, turning the wedges over a couple of times.

3. Meanwhile, heat two tablespoons of oil in a shallow, broad, heavy-bottomed casserole and fry the onions over a medium heat. Season. You need the onions to be soft and golden so adjust the heat as necessary. It will take about 15 minutes.

4. Add the garlic, chilli and spices to the onions and cook for another minute, then add the tomato purée and the chopped tomatoes.

5. Let them cook until you have a thickish mixture, stirring from time to time.

6. Add the black limes and vegetable stock or water. Season and cook over a medium to low heat for 15 minutes. Try, during that time, to press the limes with the back of a wooden spoon to encourage them to break up, if you like.

7. Chop half of the coriander stalks finely (keep the rest for something else) and add them to the sauce along with the pomegranate molasses. Add the aubergine wedges. Cook the aubergine in the sauce for 15-20 minutes, stirring every so often and keeping the wedges as intact as possible. Taste and add the honey, so that you have a sour dish with just a little sweetness.

8. Roughly chop the coriander leaves and throw them on top along with the pomegranate seeds. This can be served hot, warm or at room temperature. If you’re cooking it in advance, hold the coriander leaves and pomegranate seeds back until just before serving.