The Veggie Garden, although planted sparsely and late this year, continues to reward us with a bounty of aubergines. Always on the lookout for new ways to prepare old favourites, and in the midst of
spring autumn cleaning, I came across a packet of tamarind paste from one of my UK trips. Perfect!
Internet searches came up with curry recipes, so thinking of a curry type base as inspiration, I made it up as a I went along, and oh my goodness…what beautiful flavours emerged from a few very simple ingredients.
Ingredients (to serve two as a main course with rice or four as a side dish)
- 1 large aubergine cut into small dice
- 1 large tomato, diced
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- About 1 heaped tablespoon of fresh garlic and ginger paste (make this by finely chopping or mincing equal quantities of garlic and ginger, it can be stored in the freezer, and you can scrape off what you need)
- About 2 cups of chopped fresh spinach
- 2 teaspoons of tamarind paste soaked in a little hot water
- 1 teaspoon of brown sugar
- Salt to season
- Water or vegetable stock
- Half a teaspoon of hot chili powder (or to taste)
- 1 teaspoon of garam masala
- Oil for shallow frying
Fry the aubergines until lightly browned and remove from pan. You can omit this step if you like but will need to cook the dish when all the ingredients have been added for about 10 minutes longer. Both methods are good. Add a little more oil if necessary and fry the garlic and ginger paste and onions until the onions are soft but not browned.
Add the tomatoes and cook until softened then add the chili powder and garam masala. After a further minute, add the aubergines, sugar and tamarind, season and pour over enough water or stock to cover the vegetables.
Simmer gently until the aubergines are completely tender (about 15 minutes) and just before serving add the spinach and cook until wilted.
Serve with a little chopped coriander and some plain boiled rice. Observant readers will note, however, that in the first photo I picked parsley by mistake!