Staff member
11 Oct 2012
Local time
7:45 PM
SE Australia
The ingredient quantities in this are very flexible. It can easily be scaled up or down as needed. If you've only 2 courgettes and 2 aubergine, no problem. It will still work quite happily.

You'll see sugar in the list of ingredients. I often use it in tomato dishes as a seasoning, exactly in the same manner you'd use salt and pepper. It brings out a little something extra in tomatoes. If you've really bland watery tomatoes, then use more tomato concentrate and a little more sugar. What sugar you use is entirely up to you, though I tend to use something with flavour such as palm sugar or Jaggery. Muscovado and other darker brown sugar work really well for our tastes.

(Serves 4-10)
4-8 tbsp olive oil
1-2 large aubergine, 1cm dice
2-4 courgettes, 1cm dice
1-2 coloured peppers (red & yellow work well), 1cm dice
1-2 large onions, not too finely chopped
5-10 very large tomatoes, 1cm dice (keep the juices) or if tinned are better depending on season, use 1-2 tins of tomatoes
5-10 large garlic cloves, crushed
2-4 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
1-2 tbsp brown sugar (I use Jaggery normally)
+3 tbsp chopped basil
2-4 tbsp tomato concentrate
½ tsp crushed chilli pepper flakes (optional)

  1. Heat a large skillet and add 2-3 tbsp of olive oil, when shimmering add the chopped aubergines and cook, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes until starting to brown and going soft. Set aside in a bowl.
  2. Add another 1 tbsp to the same skillet, cook the courgettes until browning and softening, set aside with the aubergines.
  3. Again in the same skillet, heat the remaining 2 tbsp of oil and cook both the onion and the pepper together for around 5-8 minutes until the onions start to go translucent. Add the crushed garlic, stir well, fry for a minute or two, then add the tomatoes, the tomato concentrate, the thyme, the sugar (to taste, start with half), and the chilli flakes if using. Cover the dish and cook the tomatoes so that they release their juices and start to soften. Taste test the tomato sauce and see if more sugar and/or salt and pepper is needed. Cook for around 10 minutes covered.
  4. Now add the courgettes and aubergines, and simmer for another 10 minutes. Taste test again (the aubergines may benefit from a little salt, but usually I don't add any), also check the sugar levels (if your tomatoes are watery, you'll need more sugar than if you've got excellent home-grown ones) and add the chopped basil, then serve with bread or over rice. It improves with reheating the next day.

Edited to add reference. This is from Ratatouille - Once Upon a Chef
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