Spicy Aubergine in Tomato Sauce with Sumac

bowl of spicy aubergine in tomato sauce with pitta bread and dried figs in background

This spicy aubergine (egg plant) side dish is perfect for family meals. Are you an adventurous eater? Myself and my husband love a bit of spice, and like trying things new. We once visited an African restaurant in London, and delighted in ordering the dishes that we couldn’t identify. My son, however, is a conservative eater, preferring less spicy foods. He’s not a fan of sauces, and aubergines aren’t his cup of tea either. But we don’t let that stop us.

My son’s four, and his fussiness is perfectly normal. I wrote an article about the way we eat – essentially, we make sure there are some things on the table that he eats, but don’t cook round him. One of our favourites is Mezze – we have it several times a month.

bowl of spicy aubergine in tomato sauce with pitta bread and dried figs in background

I first ate Mezze in Cyprus, and it’s served in a number of places in the Eastern Mediterranean and nearby countries. We don’t try too hard to make ours authentic though- it’s just a fun middle eastern inspired meal. We usually have falafel or lamb, hummus, feta cheese or cooked halloumi, plus tomatoes, cucumber, pitta breads and this spicy aubergine in tomato sauce. For some more mezze ideas, try Easy Cheesy Vegetarian and Mediterranean Dish’s platters. Do you enjoy Mezze? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Add some chickpeas and crumbled feta to this spicy aubergine in tomato sauce and you could transform it from a side dish to a fully fledged main course – throw on some fresh herbs if you’re feeling fancy. What would you eat this with? We prefer to keep our Mezze vegetarian most of the time, but I think it would go really well with lamb. Or two suit a mixture of diners, serve with falafel and lamb kebabs. Maximum effect with minimum effort! That’s one of the joys of side dishes for me.

Step By Step

aubergine on a wooden board with a ruler
placed the aubergine on a chopping board. You can see that my aubergine (eggplant) is roughly 20cm tall. They vary in size quite a lot.
wooden board with aubergine chunks on top
Chop your aubergine into even sized chunks.
pan of auberine and sumac, jar of chilli next to it
Add the spices, sugar and canned tomatoes to the aubergine in a pan. Cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring a few times. You can simmer it for longer if you wish, but the aubergines may lose their shape a bit more.
Spicy Aubergine in Tomato Sauce
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
25 mins

An easy aubergine side dish with a middle eastern twist

Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Servings: 2 people
Calories: 133 kcal
Author: Lizzie
  • 1 large aubergine
  • 1 400g/16oz can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp sumac
  • 2 pinches hot chilli powder
  1. Chop your aubergine into chunks

  2. Place the aubergine chunks in a pan along with the tin of tomatoes, sugar and spices.

  3. Cook on a medium heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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