Place the whole eggplant under a preheated moderate grill and grill for 10 minutes. Using tongs, turn the eggplant over and cook for a further 10 minutes.
Allow to cool slightly, then cut the eggplant in half, scoop out the flesh with a spoon and place the flesh in a sieve over a bowl to drain for a few minutes.
Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan, add the tomato paste, garlic, coriander and cumin and stir over a low heat for 30 seconds. Add the chilli powder.
Add the eggplant to the pan, sprinkle it with the sugar and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Crush the eggplant with a fork, then stir continuously for about 5 minutes until you have a creamy purée. Scoop the purée into a bowl, garnish with thyme and serve with toast fingers, pita bread or vegetable crudités.
This is SOOOOO nice! I could eat the whole lot and more, I'll have to hide it from the kids, definitely a recipe to double. (I had to put the mix into the food processor as it wouldn't mix with a fork) - 04 Mar 2011