V for Life

Cook for the King

Posted by Alex on 11/05/23 in Recipes

Cook for the King – a competition held by u3a to celebrate the coronation of King Charles III – has crowned its winner.

To celebrate the coronation, u3a members were challenged to create Coronation recipes 'Fit for a King', while considering sustainability and the UK’s partnership with the Commonwealth. 

u3a officially tasked VfL Chef Alex with devising a vegan alternative of the winning dish, created by Khatoon Noonan of Richmond upon Thames u3a.

Alex used aubergines, chickpeas and vegan natural yoghurt for his recipe and adapted the method accordingly.

Aubergine & Chickpea Achari Curry

Serves: 8

Time to prepare: 1 hr (for marination)

Time to cook: 30 mins


For the pickling masala:

1 tbsp black pepper

2 tbsp black mustard seeds

1 tbsp fenugreek seeds

2 tbsp fennel seeds

1 tbsp cumin seeds

1 tbsp coriander seeds

1 tbsp chilli flakes

4 dried bay Leaves

For the marinade:

1 tbsp fresh ginger, crushed

1 tbsp garlic

2 ripe kiwi fruit, pulp

1 large lemon, juice

For the main dish:

4 aubergines, cut into chunks

2 tbsp fresh ginger, crushed

1 tbsp garlic, crushed

250g tomatoes, roughly chopped

2 large onions, roughly chopped

3 tbsp pickling masala powder (recipe included) or 3 heaped tbsp storebought achari

1 tsp coriander powder

0.5 tsp cumin powder

0.5 tsp chilli flakes

1 tsp salt

100g natural vegan yoghurt

1 can chickpeas, drained

200ml vegetable stock

0.5 lemon, juiced (save other half for garnish)

50ml cold pressed rapeseed oil

For the garnish:

Half a bunch fresh coriander, chopped

1-inch fresh ginger, julienned

4–6 fresh green chillies (I prefer to use Turkish mild long chillies.)


For the pickling masala:

  1. Dry fry the ingredients for the pickling masala together in a frying pan for approx 3 mins.
  2. Grind them in a coffee grinder to create a smooth powder. 
  3. Store in an airtight container. Will keep for 3–6 months. Alternatively you can buy ready made powder from Indian supermarkets.

For the main dish:

  1. Coat aubergine in the marinade and leave for an hour.
  2. In a large non-stick pan fry the aubergine until cooked. Depending on the size of your pan this may need to be done in batches. Remove the cooked aubergines from the pan and set to one side.
  3. Blend onions and tomatoes in a blender to give a smooth paste. Keep aside.
  4. Heat oil in a heavy pan and fry ginger and garlic for 3 to 5 minutes. 
  5. Now add pickling masala or achari. Then add the coriander, cumin powder, and chilli flakes. Mix well before adding tomatoes and onion paste. Cook for further 10 minutes.
  6. Slowly add yoghurt and mix to prevent it splitting. When thoroughly mixed, add the stock and chickpeas and cook on medium heat until the sauce has thickened.
  7. Add the cooked aubergine and cook for another 5 minutes.
  8. Finally add the salt and lemon juice, adjust seasonings as required.
  9. Serve in a deep bowl. Sprinkle coriander to garnish. Serve with boiled rice, flat bread, and yoghurt raita.


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