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Tender and melty eggplants simmered in a sweet and sour tamarind sauce! This delicious tamarind eggplant stew requires just 6 ingredients and 25 minutes to prepare! Serve on top of steamed white rice or quinoa!

Eggplants cooked in a sweet and sour tamarind sauce.

Calling out all eggplant haters! This stew will change your mind about eggplant. With no bitterness, a super tender texture, and a rich and tangy tamarind sauce, you are going to love this eggplant dish!

🥣 How to Make It

This easy plant-based side dish requires 25 minutes and just 6 ingredients:

  • Eggplants – You will need Chinese eggplants for this recipe. This variety of eggplant has a skin that is thinner than regular eggplants and almost no bitterness. It also doesn’t require any peeling.
  • Tamarind pulp – Also called tamarind paste, to bring some sweetness and sourness to the sauce.
  • Green onions
  • Shallots – If you don’t have shallots on hand, simply use onions.
  • Soy sauce – For umami and saltiness. Feel free to use coconut aminos if you want to make this recipe gluten-free.
  • Sugar – To balance the saltiness and the tanginess. You can use regular white sugar, coconut sugar, or maple syrup.
  • Tapioca starch – Or cornstarch, to slightly thicken the sauce.
Ingredients like Chinese eggplants, tamarind, green onions, peanuts, and shallots.

It starts with the eggplants that are first sliced into long strips. Since we are using Chinese eggplants, there is no peeling needed!

Next, fry the eggplants for a few minutes or until tender.

Quick Tip:

If you want the eggplants to keep their purple color, deep-fry them for 1-2 minutes. This extra step is totally optional and won’t really affect the flavor of the dish, but it will help fix the color.

Sliced eggplant on a cutting board.

While the eggplants are cooking, prepare the tamarind juice:

  1. Bring 1/4 cup of water to a boil and remove from heat.
  2. Add about 1 tablespoon of tamarind pulp and stir to dissolve it.
  3. Let sit for about 10 minutes.
  4. Strain and save the tamarind juice.

Next, sauté shallots and green onions until fragrant. Add the cooked eggplants back to the skillet and pour in the soy sauce, tamarind juice, sugar, and water.

Finally, let simmer for a few minutes to let the eggplants soak up the flavors of the sauce!

🍚 What to Serve It With

This eggplant stew is delicious served on top of white rice (or this Clay Pot Rice, for example!), quinoa, noodles, or your favorite grain!

Garnish with extra green onions and chopped peanuts for some crunch!

Sautéed eggplants in a skillet with green onions and shallots.


Can I prepare this recipe ahead of time?

If you want to prepare it ahead of time, I recommend adding the tapioca starch slurry once you are reheating the dish, just before serving.

Can I use regular eggplants for this recipe?

I do not recommend using regular eggplants as their skin would be bitter and too thick.

Eggplants cooked in a sweet and sour tamarind sauce.

If you are looking for a saucy, tender, and flavorful plant-based side, you are going to love this eggplant recipe! It has the perfect balance of sweet, salty, and sour!

⭐️ Did you like this recipe? Let us know in the comments below, and tag us on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest!

Close-up of Chinese eggplants cooked in a sweet and sour tamarind sauce.
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Tamarind Eggplant Stew

5 from 2 votes
Author: Thomas Pagot
Tender Chinese eggplants simmered in a sweet and sour tamarind sauce! This quick plant-based dish is delicious served over steamed white rice!
Prep Time : 15 minutes
Cook Time : 10 minutes
Total Time : 25 minutes
Servings 2 servings


Tamarind Juice


  • 1 large Chinese eggplant
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 shallots minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 and 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp tapioca diluted in 2 tbsp water
  • chopped peanuts for topping


Tamarind Juice

  • Bring the 1/4 cup of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Once boiling, remove from heat and add the tamarind pulp. Stir to dissolve and let it sit for about 5 minutes.
  • Using a fine-sieve mesh, strain the pulp and keep the juice. Discard the pulp.


  • Slice the unpeeled eggplant into quarters lengthwise. Then, cut it into 2-inch long strips.
  • Heat the oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the sliced eggplant and sauté for about 10 minutes. Transfer the cooked eggplant to a plate and set aside.
  • To the same skillet, add another tablespoon of oil and sauté the minced shallots and green onions over medium heat for 2-5 minutes.
  • Add the eggplants back to the skillet. Pour in the soy sauce, tamarind juice, water, and sugar. Stir to coat and let simmer uncovered for 5-7 minutes.
  • Add the diluted tapioca starch to the skillet and cook for one more minute, or until the sauce has slightly thickened. Serve immediately on top of steamed white rice or your favorite grain!
Course : Entree, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine : Asian
Did you make this recipe? Tag @fullofplants on Instagram and hashtag it #fullofplants
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About the Author

Thomas Pagot is the founder, photographer, and recipe developer behind Full of Plants. He created the blog in 2016 as a personal cookbook for vegan recipes. Through years of recipe development, Thomas has successfully grown Full of Plants into a trusted resource for plant-based recipes.

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5 stars
We really liked this (especially with the peanuts and cilantro on top) even though I am still figuring out how to cook the eggplant just right. It seems they like high heat to get nice and tender… still working on getting them all cooked nicely.

5 stars
We really liked this (especially with the peanuts and cilantro on top) even though I am still figuring out how to cook the eggplant just right.