With lots of vegetables and good fresh cooking, this is very Rasta, very natural, very ital – or as we say, vital! It’s incredibly versatile - serve as a starter on its own, or with baked potatoes for a main course, or alongside meat or fish.
5tbspolive oil, plus 2tbsp to brush on aubergines
3yellow peppers, deseeded and finely diced
3sticks of celery, finely diced
125g (4½oz) butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and finely diced
3garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 large aubergines, cut into rounds 1–1½ cm (½-⅝ in) thick
½–1½hot red chilli (ideally Scotch bonnet), deseeded and finely chopped, to taste
2tbspdemerara sugar, to taste
2tbspfresh coriander or flat-leaf parsley leaves, to garnish
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the peppers, celery, butternut squash and garlic, cooking until almost soft (about 10 minutes). Meanwhile, brush the aubergines with oil and fry very quickly in another pan, on both sides, to brown (this looks great done on a ridged griddle, or you can use a frying pan).
Add the chilli, tomato puree, tamarind and sugar (go carefully with the sugar) to the softening diced vegetables along with 4–5tbsp water and cook for another 5 minutes. Taste, and add more sugar or tamarind if necessary to get a good sweet and sour balance.
Put the aubergines in an ovenproof dish. Top with dollops of the sauce and cover (use foil if you don’t have a lid). Cook in the oven for 20–25 minutes, or until the aubergine is tender. Serve garnished with coriander or parsley leaves.