janet @ the taste space

Martinique Sweet Potato Coconut Curry with Eggplant and Pineapple

In Mains (Vegetarian) on February 3, 2012 at 6:12 AM

Martinique Sweet Potato Coconut Curry with Eggplant and Pineapple

I know the days are getting longer, but I go to work and it is dark. I come home from work and it is dark. As much as I love winter with its bright snow and clear icicles (not happening so much as I would like here in Toronto, btw), all I want is some sunshine. Some people head south for some sun and warmth. Me, I cook it up in my kitchen. For some reason, as soon as the weather turned cool, I turned to Caribbean dishes – bright with their flavourful ingredients, warmth from the spice and much cheaper than a trip down South.

This is a curry I spotted on Natalie’s lovely blog, Cook Eat Live Vegetarian, and again it passed my checklist for Rob: tamarind, coconut, curry, sweet potato (or squash) and pineapple. In fact, the ingredients look so similar to that delicious Butternut Squash, Coconut and Lentil Stew, but this is anything but similar yet equally as delicious.

Natalie explains that this curry originates from Martinique, an Eastern Caribbean island, that has elements from Africa, France, the Caribbean and South Asia in its cuisine. The distinctive flavours come from the Colombo spice mix that includes cumin, coriander, mustard, fenugreek, black peppercorns, cloves and turmeric. The curry gets its heft from starchy sweet potatoes, but butternut squash could equally be used. The eggplant melts into the coconut-curry broth, tangy from the tamarind and lime juice. As we are apt to do, we increased the tamarind.

Bring the warmth into your kitchen this winter, with a virtual trip down South. Although it will appear very real once you slurp up this delicious curry.

This is my submission to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays and to this week’s Wellness Weekend.

Martinique Sweet Potato Coconut Curry with Eggplant and Pineapple

3/4 tsp cumin seeds
3/4 tsp coriander seeds
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
1/4 tsp black peppercorns
1/4 tsp whole cloves
3/4 tsp ground turmeric

2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 red chili, deseeded and chopped
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large eggplant, cut into 2 cm cubes (1 lb)
1 large sweet potato, scrubbed and cut into 2 cm cubes (1 lb)
400 mL coconut milk
400 mL vegetable broth
2.5 tbsp tamarind concentrate
2 bay leaves
1/2 small pineapple, core removed, cut into 2 cm cubes
1/2 lime, juiced
2 tbsp dark rum (optional, we didn’t use it)
a handful of fresh coriander, chopped plus leaves for garnish

1. In a large frying pan over a medium-high heat, toast all the whole spices (not the turmeric) until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 or 3 minutes. Do not let them burn. Remove from the heat to cool Grind to a fine powder with a spice grinder (or a mortar and pestle).

2. Separately, toast the turmeric in the same pan over a medium high heat until fragrant and lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Combine the turmeric with the rest of the spices.

3. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat then add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes until softened. Then add the garlic and chili and cook for a further 2 minutes.

4. Add in the eggplant and sweet potato cubes and cook for about 4 minutes until softens and starts to turn brown. Stir the spice mix to coat the vegetables, cook for a further 2 minutes. Season with 1 tsp salt.

5. Stir in the coconut milk, broth, tamarind concentrate and bay leaves. Stir well and bring to the boil then reduce the heat to a simmer, cover with a lid and continue to simmer for 30-40 minutes until the eggplant has melted into the sauce and the sweet potato is cooked and soft.

6. Add in the pineapple, lime juice and rum (if using), stir well, cover and simmer for another 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning, add more salt if necessary and stir through the chopped coriander.

7. Serve with plain basmati rice or roti bread to scoop up the delicious sauce.

Serves 4.

  1. Thanks for the mention, you’ve reminded me how lovely this dish was, I’m going to have to make it again this week!!

  2. Well I’d say that’s a perfect dish to transport us out of this cold, damp Toronto winter!

    I love reading about spice blends- there’s a whole world of spices out there that I have yet to cook with.

  3. I love this! Eggplant is one of my favorites but I’ve really gotten away from it because my husband isn’t a fan. Boo!

  4. I love incorporating pineapple into savory dishes! I love all the tropical flavours going on in this curry….Eggplant isn’t my favourite vegetable, but this sounds like a nice way to brighten it up!

  5. wow, yum, that looks superb and delicious.

  6. I agree with you…if it’s not gonna snow, it might as well get warm! And if it won’t get warm…then we might as well cook the tropics into our kitchens. This has all of my favorite ingredients in it! Perfect way to use up the last of a jar of tamarind paste!

  7. Love the idea of cooking tropical food in the winter…especially if you are, like me, craving tart sunny fruits like lemon, lime, pineapple…this looks wonderful. I’m just at the point, sun-wise, where there’s beginning to be still a tiny bit of blue light in the sky as I make my way home from work. I think I’ve never seen such a lovely blue…mild winter and all, I’m ready for spring!

  8. Ooo I have some tamarind in my fridge I have to use up! I’m making the tamarind tofu cabbage bowl from VYY again but will have to try this one soon. 🙂 I’m going to work and coming home from work in the dark too but at least for part of my trip there/back it’s starting to be light out! Hopefully it is for you too. 🙂

    • Ah yes, cabbage and tamarind are great together! If I skip the gym, then it is sunny out.. but otherwise, still dark…. I know the days are getting longer, but it seems like so are my working hours. 😦

  9. this looks like such a hearty and flavorful bowl–I love all of the spices and ingredients in here. Thanks for sending it to Souper Sundays. 😉

  10. That looks really great. I don’t know about the pineapple (I’m not really into fruits in my savoury dishes) but otherwise a definite Have-to-try 🙂

  11. Yummmmm!! I can almost smell it from here. I will have to try this and the tamarind sounds like a lovely addition and one I don;t cook with often enough. Thanks!

  12. […] and I ate them with the Sweet Potato Coconut Curry with Eggplant and Pineapple to beef up the meal. We found that when we smothered them with the curry sauce, it almost tasted […]

  13. My spice rack needs expanding – these flavors sound so inviting.

  14. I *need* to find some tamarind concentrate because this sounds seriously fantastic. Any sweet dish that passes as savory and spicy at the same time is my kind of my meal, and the fact that this boasts sweet potatoes, coconut milk and pineapple tells me that it is!

  15. […] and collard greens as the wrap, well not for the kids, they can just have normal wraps. Dinner: Martinique Sweet Potato Curry with Eggplant and Pineapple.  I dont think I need to say anymore here.   This recipe is from my new favorite blog, and […]

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  17. […] A kale salad alongside two more dishes from Janet–Spiced Red Lentil Pancakes and Martinique Sweet Potato Coconut Curry with Eggplant and Pineapple. […]

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