Fermented Aubergine Chutney

Good things come to those who wait and this chutney is no exception.  It was initially made for the guests at the Maison Fish retreat I cooked at in October last year, but I never got around to using it.  Two and a half months later, I gave it a taste and it was so lovely I just HAD to share it with you.

Ingredients
Makes 1 Large Jar

3 medium aubergines, thoroughly washed and chopped into 1 inch cubes
2 red onions, peeled, trimmed and finely diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled, trimmed and finely chopped
1 red chili, washed, trimmed and finely chopped
Large Handful coriander stalks, washed and finely chopped
Good quality coarse sea salt.  I use Maldon, Celtic or Cornish Sea Salt.

Method

You will need: a glass jar.  I prefer a clip top such as Kilner or Fido.

 - Sterilise your jar using boiling water, 15mins in a 140C oven or a quick cycle in an empty dishwasher.

- Weigh all ingredients – this will allow you to calculate the amount of salt needed.  For every 500g, 2tsp salt is required.

- Place the chopped aubergines in a colander or sieve and sprinkle with 2tbsp salt (this does not come from the above allowance).  Mix to coat all pieces.  This will extract some of the liquid that can taste bitter.  Place over a bowl (to catch the liquid) and weigh down with a plate and jar or similar.  Set aside, preferable for 1-2hrs.

- Once the time has passed, rinse the aubergines and place in a large bowl along with the rest of the ingredients and the required amount of salt.

- Massage well with your hands for 5-10 minutes, until a substantial amount of liquid has been released.  You may want to wear gloves to avoid any chili mishaps later on!

- Pack into your jar and tamp each layer firmly.  You want the brine to rise above the vegetables.  Weigh down using a fermentation weight or wedge under the shoulder of the jar using a cabbage leaf as the cover.  You can also use

- Leave to ferment at room temperature (between 16-22C) for a minimum of 2 weeks, at which point you can taste it.  The longer the better, I think, but it all depends on your personal taste.

- Keep an eye out for mould and remove any suspicious looking pieces.  If the vegetables remain submerged in the brine, all should be fine!