the taste space

Tamarind Roasted Eggplant and Chickpeas

Posted in Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian) by janet @ the taste space on October 8, 2013

Tamarind Roasted Eggplant and Chickpeas
Of all the recipes on my blog, I am most proud of this one.

Not because I came up with the fabulous idea to mix together roasted eggplant, tamarind and chickpeas, but because I kind of ran with a taste in my mouth and help from a friend.

One of my co-workers is vegan and recently invited Rob and me for dinner. He went all out with multiple salads, curries, biryani and dessert. Served on a weekday, at that. I was blown away. By all of it.

The dish that I enjoyed the most was the tamarind roasted eggplant with chickpeas. I asked how it was made:. He said it was easy, just roast the eggplant with masala spices, then cook it with tamarind and chickpeas. Easy, peasy, right? Not really.. a bit too vague for my liking for me to recreate it. ;)

I figured my Baingan Bharta with Chickpeas (Roasted eggplant and tomatoes with chickpeas) was a good starting point, though, and after reading it over, my friend gave me some tips:

1. No ginger, more garlic to enhance the eggplant (I happily obliged)

2. No cilantro, and if so, just add it at the end (I just omitted it – it was better without)

3. Heat the chickpeas and slightly mash them, so that they can better absorb the flavours from the rest of the dish (great idea!!)

4. Add some turmeric (done!)

5. Remove or limit the coconut (removed!)

With a bit of trepidation, I set out to recreate this dish. I got my eggplant roasting and re-read my instructions. Sauteed onions and a good dose of garlic. Ground coriander, cumin and garam masala…

It has been a long time since I’ve cooked with eggplant (over 2 years, if you excuse my Raw Eggplant Bacon from last year as that was not technically cooked). Roasting it is definitely my preferred cooking method. It may take a while to cook but the results give you a silky base. Here, the fragrant Indian spices contrast nicely with the sweet/tart tamarind, floating in the silky eggplant peppered with chickpeas. The photos don’t really do it justice because it looks kinda of chunky when it actually wasn’t. Definitely one of my favourite dishes this year.

Have you ever been really excited by your own culinary creation?

Eggplant, chickpeas and tamarind elsewhere:

Eggplant, Chickpea and Tamarind stew at The Guardian

Tamarind Spiced Roasted Eggplant Soup at Everything in the Kitchen Sink

Tamarind Eggplant and Chickpeas at Relish

Eggplant, Tomato, Chickpea Tamarind Stew at Allotment 2 Kitchen

Eggplant Curry with Tamarind & Mint at Veggie Num Num

PS. Have you entered my giveaway for The Ayurvedic Vegan Kitchen yet?
Tamarind Roasted Eggplant and Chickpeas

This is my submission to this month’s Four Seasons Food for Roasting.

Tamarind Roasted Eggplant and Chickpeas

4 Asian eggplants (1.5-2 lbs)
1 tbsp coconut oil, divided (or less)
1 large onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
pinch Aleppo chili flakes
1.5 cups cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed if canned
3 tbsp tamarind concentrate, or to taste

1.  Preheat oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat. Pierce eggplants and place whole on the baking sheet. Roast for about 1 hour. Watch closely during the last 15 minutes of roasting. Set aside to cool.

2. After it is roasted and cooled, peel and coarsely chop the eggplant. Set aside.

3. In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp oil over medium high heat until hot.  Add onion, sprinkle with salt and cook about 10 minutes until softened and golden.

4. Add garlic and cook another 30 seconds.  Add coriander, cumin, garam masala, turmeric and chile flakes; cook 1 minute until fragrant.  If things become sticky, deglaze the pan with a touch of water and continue cooking for 1 more minute.

5. Add cooled eggplant and cook 5 minutes.

6. Meanwhile, heat the chickpeas in a small saucepot (or microwave) and mash slightly. Add the somewhat mashed chickpeas to the eggplant and stir until heated through, another 5 minutes. Add tamarind concentrate. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Serve with your favourite Indian bread.

Serves 3-4.

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29 Responses

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  1. sprint2thetable said, on October 8, 2013 at 6:57 AM

    This is perfect! I just bought an eggplant and I have been wondering how to use the tamarind pastes I bought for a recipe ages ago. Hope it doesn’t expire…

  2. Ali Seiter said, on October 8, 2013 at 7:01 AM

    SO EXCITED to see such a plethora of recipes featuring tamarind! I bought a jar of tamarind concentrate a few months ago and have been looking to implement it more often.

    • janet @ the taste space said, on October 8, 2013 at 8:28 AM

      Yay! I think I wrote on your blog I was on a tamarind kick.. and there is a bit of a lag between my kitchen and the blog, as you can see. We actually ate through one jar of tamarind paste in 2 months. Mostly due to pad thai but I have a few other recipes to share, too. :)

  3. Allysia Kerney said, on October 8, 2013 at 8:25 AM

    Yay, I love when successes like these happen! :) Though I would probably be throwing cilantro in that! Also, tamarind is one of my favorite ingredients, but I haven’t used it since culinary school. I should hunt around to see if I can find some inexpensive paste somewhere, so good!

    • janet @ the taste space said, on October 8, 2013 at 8:27 AM

      Yay for tamarind love! If you end up at Sunny’s, they should have it and I think it is only $2. Of course, the tamarind pulp is much cheaper (50c or so) but I prefer the paste.

  4. Gabby @ the veggie nook said, on October 8, 2013 at 1:59 PM

    This does sounds pretty incredible! I love when you are able to recreate dishes you love!

    • janet @ the taste space said, on October 8, 2013 at 8:13 PM

      Thanks, Gabby. I just need to convince Rob to add this to his repertoire of repeated dishes… then I am all set!! :)

  5. coconutandberries said, on October 8, 2013 at 3:56 PM

    Oh wow Janet this looks perfect! I haven’t really got past the tamarind lentils recipe from Vcon which I love but still have a big jar of tamarind to use and haven’t got round to looking for recipes.
    Definitely trying this one. Thank you :D

    • janet @ the taste space said, on October 8, 2013 at 8:14 PM

      Hey Emma, Yes, I love tamarind lentils, too. We went on a tamarind phase and went through a whole bottle in 2 months, so I have a few more recipes to share… in due time, of course. This was my favourite of the bunch so I hope you like it as much as us. :)

  6. jsan2873 said, on October 8, 2013 at 5:34 PM

    Janet this is an awesome blog. I too (officially) moved here from Toronto (to attend culinary school) in December 2012 and I am always on the lookout for ethnic grocery stores like we have in T.O. In fact that is how I stumbled upon your blog: I Googled, for the 50th time, the same question you asked “where are they?” LOL

    Your blog has me homesick now though :-( I was fortunate to have family to take me around to the main groceries, but I also spend hours at a time exploring the aisles of the ethnic ones I discovered on my own. Some mentioned here I will be seeking out.

    I am originally from Trinidad and Tobago where curries, spices and lots of flavor is a must in our food. You make me homesick for there as well :-D
    Keep up the good work and I look forward to seeing some more AMAZING creations from you.

    Your blog is AWESOME!!!! Thank you!!!

    • janet @ the taste space said, on October 8, 2013 at 8:15 PM

      You are too kind… and possibly a kindred spirit. ;) If you ever want to scope out new (or old) ethnic grocers together, just let me know. :)

      • Gaby said, on October 9, 2013 at 9:13 PM

        yeah!! new houstonites! I want to help you explore! This looks great, I have eyed the tamarind paste so many times but decided not to get it because I have no idea what to do with it. I get back monday so sometime this week or weekend, a potluck is going down! :)

  7. Joanne said, on October 8, 2013 at 10:04 PM

    I always get super excited when I recreate a meal I had, but don’t have a real recipe for. Congrats!! And tamarind sounds so dreamy with eggplant. All that intense tanginess.

  8. Johanna GGG said, on October 9, 2013 at 5:18 AM

    I love hearing about the process of recipe creation – it sounds like you did well and I can imagine it all except the tamarind which is not so familiar to me so I think I would need a bit of guidance on it

    • janet @ the taste space said, on October 9, 2013 at 4:14 PM

      Thanks, Johanna. I feel much comfortable working with a recipe guide. You’d think I’d have more confidence in the kitchen, but it will come in time. For sure. Tamarind is fun. Very tangy/sour with a bit of sweetness. We love it. It is usually a finishing flavour, so just add to taste. :)

  9. Ellen Lederman said, on October 9, 2013 at 5:43 AM

    Sounds excellent. I’ve been neglecting tamarind. Have both the paste and concentrate. I know some people feel the concentrate isn’t “real” tamarind—-but it definitely tastes good to me!

    • janet @ the taste space said, on October 9, 2013 at 3:36 PM

      By paste, do you mean the pulp stuff? I used to get the pulp but we found the concentrate is more consistent in its tanginess, so that’s all we use now… plus, it is easier to use, too. :) We finished a whole bottle of the tamarind over 2 months, so it has been getting the love here. I have a few more recipes to share when I get the time. :)

      • Ellen Lederman said, on October 11, 2013 at 5:45 AM

        Yup, meant the pulp that comes in a block. You are right—the concentrate is definitely easier to use and is consistently tangy, whereas the block stuff can sometimes be a little lackluster. On the other hand, the block stuff is less processed…so decisions, decisions. Probably flavor and ease will win out over authenticity and less processing!

      • janet @ the taste space said, on October 11, 2013 at 7:31 AM

        I know, it boggles me, too, why the pulp is less flavourful. Even if I use less water, it is not the same. Perhaps I need to let the water evaporate afterwards? Who knows…. for now the concentrate works for me. :)

  10. rika@veganmiam said, on October 9, 2013 at 7:22 AM

    What a fabulous idea, Janet – all these roasted veggies and chickpeas with tamarind sound tasty! I remembered trying tamarind and these kinds of candies and chips for the first time in Mexico City – it was so good!

    • janet @ the taste space said, on October 9, 2013 at 3:35 PM

      I always associate tamarind with India, but now I am curious about the Mexican slant. I have seen it used in chili… hmmm…

  11. Louisa Foti said, on October 9, 2013 at 1:44 PM

    Now that sounds like an exceptionally tasty dish, and I adore all your flavours you’ve got going in it. What a fabulous Roasting entry to the Four Seasons Food challenge, thanks so much for taking part!

  12. Kristen Kelley said, on October 10, 2013 at 1:09 AM

    This sounds fabulous. I can’t wait to try it. I think I saw organic eggplant on sale at our Whole Foods the other day, too!

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