Zucchini is given a makeover of flavours with sweetness from brown sugar and sourness from tamarind puree in this simple, fragrant recipe.






Skill level

Average: 3.8 (22 votes)


  • 12 small green zucchini, cut in half lengthwise
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Tamarind sauce

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 small red onions, finely chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 small green chillies, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh curry leaves
  • 100 g brown sugar
  • 300 ml tamarind puree
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 4 ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • ½ cup coriander leaves

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


  1. Preheat a barbecue or chargrill pan over high heat.
  2. Brush the zucchini halves with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook the zucchini, cut–side down for 2-3 minutes or until lightly charred, then turn and cook the other side until al dente.
  3. Meanwhile, for the tamarind sauce, heat a large frying pan over medium heat until hot. Add the oil, then the onion, garlic and chillies and cook until beginning to colour. Add the curry leaves and fry for 1 minute or until wilted.
  4. Add the sugar, tamarind, cumin and salt and simmer gently for 1-2 minutes. Stir in the diced tomato, then taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary – there should be an equal balance of sweet, sour and salty flavours. Add the grilled zucchini, stir to coat thoroughly, then simmer for another 2-3 minutes. Tear over the coriander leaves and serve hot.


Adam Liaw cooks, laughs, and explores culture with some of Australia's most beloved in The Cook Up With Adam Liaw.

Photography by Danielle Abou Karam.