Tamarind Spiced Aubergines and Spinach

18 Sep

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!

Tamarind Spiced Abergine (9)

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.

Tamarind Spiced Abergine (4)

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!


60 Responses to “Tamarind Spiced Aubergines and Spinach”

  1. Mad Dog September 18, 2013 at 16:12 #

    Very exotic! That sounds delicious, I love aubergines, but oddly don’t eat them that much. You’ve given me a craving for them now 😉

  2. tinywhitecottage September 18, 2013 at 16:14 #

    This looks so wonderful. And to think you made it up as you went along! Such lovely flavors in your ingredients and I think even with parsley you have a perfect dish. 🙂

    • Chica Andaluza September 19, 2013 at 11:27 #

      Ah thank you tinywhite cottage for your kidn words and welcome to the blog!

  3. cookinginsens September 18, 2013 at 16:15 #

    We just had aubergine with spinach! The tamarind sounds very interesting.

    • Chica Andaluza September 18, 2013 at 23:08 #

      Aubergines and spinach go so well together! And the tamarind is a sour/fruity mix – very good indeed.

  4. thecompletebook September 18, 2013 at 16:20 #

    🙂 Mandy xo

  5. expatchef September 18, 2013 at 19:19 #

    Ok, can you come and bring me some! And what a great idea about the garlic ginger paste! Going to make some tonight!

    • Chica Andaluza September 18, 2013 at 23:09 #

      I’m on my way! The paste is really handy as it starts to defrost quite quickly so you can just take out what yuu need and then pop it back into the freezer. Another option is to freeze it in ice cube trays.

  6. Our Growing Paynes September 18, 2013 at 20:10 #

    Love the colours of this dish and it looks really delicious.

    • Chica Andaluza September 18, 2013 at 23:10 #

      Yes, it’s definitely a dish that looks as good as it tastes!

  7. narf77 September 18, 2013 at 21:21 #

    Now THIS one looks promising in my immediate future! Steve is heading in to the city on the weekend to finish clearing out the unit and the shed of his “stuff” and when I was in our local health food shop I actually saw tamarind paste in packets…methinks Stevie boy can pick me up some tamarind while he is city bound and we can have this gorgeousness soon. Eggplants are out of season but there are a few stragglers around and I am going to give this the old college try!

    • Chica Andaluza September 18, 2013 at 23:11 #

      As I was making this I thought of you – although I didn’t know if you liked aubergines or not! It’s worth waiting for them to come into season as the texture of the aubergine contrasted with the spinach is good. Let me know how it goes if you do make it!

      • narf77 September 19, 2013 at 07:50 #

        I grew lots of Japanese eggplants (the thin ones) last year and this recipe would be absolutely perfect for them. Spinach and eggplants I can do! 🙂

      • Chica Andaluza September 19, 2013 at 10:31 #

        Ooh I love those – I used to be able to buy them really cheaply in my old London neighbourhood (huge Indian and Caribbean community – such wonderful food shops!) and also some little tiny round ones which were very pretty 🙂

      • narf77 September 19, 2013 at 20:13 #

        I SO envy you guys who can get all the “Med vege” so easily! I got a purple cauliflower the other day and felt like I won the lottery 😉

      • Chica Andaluza September 19, 2013 at 20:20 #

        I feel the same if I can track down a parsnip in Andalucia!

      • narf77 September 19, 2013 at 20:30 #

        “My Kingdom for a parsnip!” ;). I have lots of parsnips so now we are even 😉

      • Chica Andaluza September 19, 2013 at 20:42 #


  8. Eha September 19, 2013 at 06:39 #

    Just came home from docs etc! Guess what the main meal plans for tomorrow now include? Am laughing that the only ‘ingredient’ I have to make is the vegetable stock 🙂 ! Easy enough, methinks!!!! And looking forwards to it!!!!

    • Chica Andaluza September 19, 2013 at 10:30 #

      Oh do hope all is ok with you? Glad you now have tomorrow’s meal sorted!

  9. Tandy | Lavender and Lime September 19, 2013 at 08:09 #

    I think this is a great way to use your aubergines – I must try it 🙂

    • Chica Andaluza September 19, 2013 at 10:33 #

      I’ll thank you now – they do indeed look fantastic! We had chick peas yesterday and I had some left over, but then I dipped back into them…then the dogs had a few with their breakfast (yes, ours mainly eat meat, rice and veg but only in a frugal, cheaper than dog food way) so no more leftover chickpeas 😦 Will have to soak some more!

      • narf77 September 19, 2013 at 20:14 #

        I thought immediately of my Med dwelling mate over the waves when I saw that on Pinterest. I swear I am not looking at the pictures, I am reading the blog articles that go with them! “I SWEAR I AM NOT ADDICTED!” 😉

      • Chica Andaluza September 19, 2013 at 20:20 #

        Some addictionsare fine – we’re here to support you through it!

      • narf77 September 19, 2013 at 20:30 #

        ;). I am not yet ready to admit my addiction…I am still in the denial phase and when I am sitting here for hours on end pinning I am actually “finding useful information” 😉

  10. Food,Photography & France September 19, 2013 at 09:16 #

    I have a large preserving jar of tamarind in the fridge, ready to be used, but I never get round to it. This dish seems to be a good reason to start. Nice recipe.

    • Chica Andaluza September 19, 2013 at 10:34 #

      I’m looking for more ways to used it – the flavour is something very special indeed!

  11. TheDorsetFinca September 19, 2013 at 10:19 #

    Aha! Another way that I can use those pesky aubergines that I have such trouble with… thank you lots!

    • Chica Andaluza September 19, 2013 at 10:35 #

      Yes, a few aubergines can sometimes appear to last a lifetime 🙂 If you don’t mind deep frying, somewhere in the past I posted a wonderful recipe for deep friend aubergines which we eat a lot here drizzled with molasses (miel de cana) and sprinkled with sea salt – sounds so weird, tastes so good!

      • TheDorsetFinca September 19, 2013 at 11:35 #

        Thanks I’ll take a look. x

  12. TBM September 19, 2013 at 11:09 #

    Yum! I’m looking forward to planting some things in our garden next year. Can’t wait!

    • Chica Andaluza September 19, 2013 at 11:28 #

      Yay – it’s exciting when you have a garden isn’t it?! Even if it’s just a few pots of herbs, they can make all the difference to a dish 🙂

  13. cecilia September 19, 2013 at 13:41 #

    I think John has tamarind paste on his shelf in the pantry.. and as you know I have piles of aubergine. I shall make this today, or something like this as i have no spinach, but there is a little kale coming back.. and i certainly have piles of coriander! I also autumn clean, spring cleaning seems a waste of time when i am released into the OUTSIDE on the spring. But autumn though it is not here yet, is a better time to clean.. c

    • Chica Andaluza September 19, 2013 at 15:43 #

      It would be great with kale – I would have used chard if I hadn’t been given spinach! Glad we can keep scurvy and starvation from the door for at least another day 🙂

  14. Peri's Spice Ladle September 19, 2013 at 17:49 #

    You had me at tamarind and spiced!! Plan to use zucchini, would work out really well:)

    • Chica Andaluza September 19, 2013 at 18:21 #

      I made a courgette curry the other night (using some of my crop of tomatoes too!) and it was wonderful!

  15. Ruth September 20, 2013 at 03:58 #

    Looks delicious. Had eggplant at a friend’s house from her garden. Mmmmm.
    Your photos make my mouth water!

    • Chica Andaluza September 21, 2013 at 11:18 #

      The texture and lack of bitterness of a fresh one from the garden is so different from a store bought one which has probably been hanging around for a while!

  16. Charles September 20, 2013 at 15:10 #

    Aaah, tamarind is one of those things I’ve been meaning to try for aaaaages. I have no idea what it tastes like – I really want to know! I think I saw some in the store the other day, but couldn’t really justify buying a huge pack in case I hated it, lol!

    Looks fantastic in any case Chica – anything with aubergine gets a big thumbs up from me every time!

    • Chica Andaluza September 21, 2013 at 11:34 #

      I’m trying to think how to describe the taste – maybe like a sour cherry, but not so cherry-ish! If you can find a small pack, do give I a go 🙂

      • Charles September 21, 2013 at 22:50 #

        like a sour cherry without so much cherry… ok, that sounds great. I will for sure try it if I can find it… can’t even remember where I saw it now, lol!

  17. bitsandbreadcrumbs September 20, 2013 at 17:18 #

    This looks terrific, Tanya, and I love your tip on the garlic and ginger pastes. I always end up wasting ginger whenever I buy it and this makes total sense as a better way to store/freeze it than whole. Never used tamarind but it sounds brilliant with the aubergine.

    • Chica Andaluza September 21, 2013 at 11:37 #

      It’s a good way to store it as often ginger gets forgotten and then goes all soft and sad 😦

      • bitsandbreadcrumbs September 21, 2013 at 16:45 #

        Yes, I would probably have a garden of ginger on hand if I could have rescued the soft and sad pieces over my lifetime!

  18. Karen September 23, 2013 at 02:52 #

    This sounds quite delicious…especially since you” made it up” as you went. Very talented it think. 🙂

  19. kathryningrid September 23, 2013 at 20:01 #

    Garam masala is so incredibly versatile (in dishes savory *or* sweet), I think it’d be a pity not to have some ready-made in the cupboard at all times, or if not prepared, then all of the spices to make the masala fresh. Well done here!

    • Chica Andaluza September 24, 2013 at 12:56 #

      Yes, I love a sprinkle of it on dishes at the end of cooking too!

  20. Sawsan@ Chef in disguise September 24, 2013 at 08:49 #

    Oh i love aubergines and I think with the tart tamarind they would be heavenly!
    pinned to try real soon
    So sorry for being missing in action Tanya. The start of school and work were a little extra crazy this year.

    • Chica Andaluza September 24, 2013 at 13:08 #

      The tamarind and aubergine worked beautifully together! We’ve missed you but completely understand that real life takes priority!

  21. grosir jilbab murah February 16, 2016 at 03:25 #

    Yummy…. Such lovely flavors in your ingredients and I think even with parsley you have a perfect dish. 🙂

  22. Kursus ACLS August 18, 2016 at 06:20 #

    Wow.. Your recipe looks yummy.. i will try this.. Thank You

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