Marrow bake in rich tomato sauce

Marrow bake

’tis not the season of marrows in the UK yet but John (bless him) managed to procure one when he went shopping – I think it was Portuguese and very nice too.  I have some growing in the garden but they are nowhere near fruition! John and Maria, my wonderful neighbours and friends from next door were coming over to sit in the garden and enjoy the lovely warm weather we are blessed with at the moment.   I cooked some vegan food and although they are not vegan they love the curries and my cooking, thank you John and Maria!  With some trepidation, I decided to use the marrow (it’s not everyone’s favourite veggie…..)  I racked my recipe database for some inspiration and came up with this.  A rich tomato sauce with very little spice, thickened with some soy mince and chana dal – how could it go wrong??  I was thrilled when they went for second helpings and wanted the recipe. Maria couldn’t believe I had only put some turmeric in it and no garlic or ginger or any other spice.  I did some rice with peas and sweetcorn to go with it and also saag aloo which I know they are very fond of.  A bottle or two of wine and we were prepared for a lovely evening with friends. The only consideration with marrows, as we know, is not to overcook it or it goes all mushy and quite horrid.  I cooked the chana dal separately, did the tomato sauce, added the mince and chana dal and then poured it over the marrow and baked it – it worked! I hope you too will enjoy it and have a go when you get hold of a marrow.

4 servings


¾ cup chana dal, soaked for a couple of hours at least
¼ teaspoon baking powder (optional – this speeds up the cooking time for the chana dal)
1 medium marrow, peeled and cut into 2×3 inch pieces (I used two-thirds of my marrow – approximately 10 inches)
1 onion, sliced
1 tin tomatoes, chopped
3 tablespoons oil
1 cup dehydrated soy mince
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon dried sweet basil
½ teaspoon salt
3 cups water


  1. Rinse chana dal, add 3 cups of water and  ¼ teaspoon baking powder. Cover and simmer gently until cooked but not mushy.  Strain the dal in a colander and set aside
  2. Fry the onion in 2 tablespoons oil until golden
  3. Add turmeric, salt and tin of tomatoes
  4. Add 3 cups of water, bring to the boil and lower the heat.  Cover and simmer for about 25 minutes
  5. Add soy mince and chana dal and cook uncovered over medium heat for about 15-20 minutes until the sauce is thickened – not too thick as we want the bake to be nice and moist
  6. Add the sweet basil and give it a stir
  7. In a frying pan, quickly fry the marrow pieces in 1 tablespoon of oil for about 2 minutes – this will seal some of the juices and keep the flavour
  8. Place the marrow in an ovenproof dish and pour the tomato and mince sauce on it
  9. Bake covered at 200C or gas mark 6 for 20 minutes
  10. Take out of the oven, uncover and pop back in the oven for another 20 minutes until it’s bubbling
  11. Serve with rice with peas and sweetcorn

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