Eggplant (also known as aubergine or brinjal) is probably one of my favourite vegetables. I love how it totally absorbs the flavours of whatever ingredients or sauce that it’s cooked in.
Usually, I’ll add eggplants to a vegetable curry, or, if I have some homemade sambal, I’ll just stir fry eggplants with the sambal for a quick and delicious meal. I also really like grilled eggplants marinated in olive oil and garlic. My mother actually used to make this eggplant dish where she would broil them in the oven until soft, then scrape out the flesh and mix it with soy sauce, shallot oil, fresh red chilis and crispy fried shallots. It was so delicious!! And let’s not forget my love of Kashk’e Bademjan, a Persian roasted eggplant dip!
Terung Berlada is another favourite. It’s a relatively simple Malaysian dish, where the eggplants are cooked with chilis and dried shrimp (or anchovies). I hadn’t eaten this in a really long time, and then I had it at Satay House in London. It was so tasty that I told myself I had to make it!
Traditionally, the eggplants are first fried in oil. You actually need quite a bit of oil, because it all gets soaked up. I’ll admit that deep frying does give more flavour. However, when I cook eggplants, I prefer to boil them first. It’s still really good, and definitely healthier!
Well, until next time, stay safe and don’t forget to check out Instagram to see what else I’ve been up to in the kitchen!
(Adapted from Azie Kitchen)
EGGPLANT IN CHILI SAUCE (Terung Berlada)
2 Chinese eggplants, sliced into 1-inch rounds and soaked in water
1 teaspoon tamarind paste
1 onion, halved and sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coconut/palm sugar (can substitute with brown/white sugar)
3 tablespoons of coconut oil*
2-3 tablespoons dried shrimp, soaked in water until soft, then drained
9 small/medium red chilis, deseeded and cut into 1-inch segments
3 cloves of garlic, each one halved
3 shallots, cut into quarters
*You will need additional oil if you want to fry the eggplants first
1. Put softened dried shrimp, chilis, garlic and shallots in a food processor and blend to a rough paste (you don’t want a totally smooth puree).
2. Bring a pot of water to a boil, add in a pinch of salt, then add eggplants (making sure to submerge them) and cook for 5 to 10 minutes until tender. Drain and set aside. (Alternatively, you may also choose to fry the eggplants.)
3. Heat oil in a wok over medium heat. Fry the blended ingredients for a few minutes or until the oil separates from the paste (this is known as “pecah minyak” in Malay).
4. Add tamarind paste, onions, salt and sugar. Fry until the onions reach the desired softness (I like the onions soft, but if you prefer a bit of crunch, fry for a shorter time).
5. Add in the eggplant and fry for a minute or two, mixing well with the sauce. Serve hot with steamed rice.