Anjum Anand’s barbecued courgettes with Bengali sauce
The Bengalis have a delicious dish of little aubergine rounds nestling in a lightly creamy mustard and yoghurt sauce. It is truly tasty and forms the inspiration for this barbecue dish. Here, I make the sauce separately (and very quickly), adding some tomatoes to the basic recipe, and have swapped the aubergines for courgettes, which work so well with the mustard flavours. This is an amazing side dish for any barbecue, but also makes a lovely, light course for vegetarians, in which case I sometimes add ricotta and/ or two large handfuls of chickpeas for protein. A Bengali would use mustard seeds but, when you grind mustard seeds, they can sometimes turn bitter, so unless you are already familiar with this delicious but fickle spice, use the prepared mustard as I do here. It works just as well, you just lose a little extra body. Serves 2-3.
Ingredients:3 tsp prepared English mustard, or 2 tsp brown mustard seeds, or to taste Salt 10g roughly chopped root ginger (peeled weight) 3 large garlic cloves, halved 3 1⁄2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more to brush the courgettes 1⁄2 tsp panch phoran 3-4 Indian green finger chillies, stalks removed, pierced with the tip of a knife 3 quite rounded tbsp thick Greek yoghurt 1 large tomato, chopped 1⁄2 tsp ground turmeric 3 courgettes, sliced diagonally into 1.5cm thick rounds 150g ricotta handful of chopped coriander 2 1⁄2 tbsp pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted in a pan until puffed up
- If using mustard seeds, soak them in 60ml water for 15 minutes. Add a large pinch of salt, the ginger and garlic and blend until smooth. The mustard seeds do not need to break down completely. It will smell lovely and mustardy. If using prepared mustard, blend the ginger and garlic with some water and mix with the mustard and some salt.
- Heat the oil in a small non-stick pan. Add the panch phoran and, as the seeds pop, reduce the heat, add the green chillies and fry for another 10 seconds.
- Add the mustard seed paste (if using), cleaning the blender container with a little water and adding it to the pot. Cook for a few minutes or until the garlic smells cooked and has darkened ever so slightly. Add the yoghurt, most of the tomato, salt and turmeric and stir continuously until it comes to the boil. Stir in the prepared mustard (if using) and a splash of water and return to the boil, it should have the consistency of light cream. Adjust the mustard and salt to taste: it should be punchy, the vegetable can take it. Set aside.
- Preheat the barbecue to medium-hot. Brush the courgette slices with olive oil, place on the grill rack and cook, until charred on both sides, around two minutes each side. Meanwhile, place the mustard sauce in a flameproof pan on the barbecue as well, to reheat the sauce, or just reheat it on the hob.
- Place the courgettes on your serving plate, top with the ricotta, then the sauce, reserved tomato, coriander and pumpkin seeds. Serve hot.