Chefs' Recipes

Tony Tan's eggplant, coconut and tamarind sambal

A sambal that hits all the right sour and spicy notes.

By Tony Tan
  • 20 mins preparation
  • 30 mins cooking
  • Serves 4
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"I learnt this dish from my Christian-Tamil neighbour years ago in Malaysia," says chef and author Tony Tan. "Tangy and moreish, this sambal is perfect poured over rice and teamed with the chicken pepper stir-fry recipe."

Ingredients

  • 50 gm tamarind pulp
  • ¼ cup ghee or vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
  • 1 green chilli, sliced
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped
  • 500 gm eggplant, cut into 2cm cubes
  • 150 ml coconut cream
  • Steamed rice, to serve

Method

  • 1
    Soak tamarind in 250ml warm water (10 minutes). Break up the pulp with your fingers and squeeze to release the juices. Strain through a fine sieve and discard solids.
  • 2
    Heat ghee or vegetable oil in a saucepan over medium heat and fry fenugreek seeds until fragrant and darker (30 seconds). Add onion, ginger and green chilli, and fry until onion is soft and golden brown. Stir in ground spices, and fry until fragrant (30 seconds). Add half the tamarind liquid then reduce heat and simmer gently (2-3 minutes).
  • 3
    Add tomato, eggplant and ½ cup water to the pan. Simmer for a minute before adding the rest of the tamarind liquid.
  • 4
    Add coconut cream to the pan and cook for another minute. Increase the heat to medium and add another ½ cup water. Add salt to taste and simmer, covered, until the eggplant is soft and sauce has thickened (10-15 minutes). Serve eggplant with rice on the side.