Wednesday 17 December 2014

Aubergines in Sambal

Aubergine / Eggplant in sambal recipe ...

Tantalising tender velvety aubergine with spicy sambal

Whether you call them aubergines, eggplants or brinjal, one thing that we can all agree on is that cooking this deep coloured fruit/vegetable can be tricky. They seem to absorb all the oil from the pan almost immediately and can take forever to soften; and even after extensive cooking can still be tough.  How do you achieve silkiness rathern than chewiness?

To get the most out of them, I salt them.

First, the aubergine is cut into thick rounds and placed on a plate lined with paper towel. I then sprinkle salt all over the pieces (both sides) and let them sit for about 30 minutes or longer.

Upon returning, you will find a wet paper towel (it never ceases to amaze me just how much water is extracted!) and beads of moisture emerging from the aubergine pieces, which I simply wipe down with a fresh paper towel (this will also remove any remaining salt).

Now that moisture is extracted, the aubergine is ready to absorb the flavours of the spicy sambal - the result is delicious, tender, melt in your mouth aubergine.

The sambal paste is made from fresh chillies, onion, garlic and shrimp paste. You can make a smaller batch of the sambal if you are just making it for this dish (if you are strapped for time, you could try reducing the sambal cooking time from 45 mins to 20 mins).

Sambal Aubergine


2 tablespoons oil (canola or vegetable)
2-3 tablespoons sambal paste
1 medium sized aubergine (eggplant)
Sea salt (for salting)


1.Slice aubergine into half-inch rounds

2.Sprinkle salt onto aubergine and lay flat on a paper towel placed on a plate for 30 minutes - 1 hour. Once moisture is extracted, pat dry eggplant using a fresh paper towel (removing any excess salt). Discard liquid. Slice into thin strips.

3. Heat oil in wok over medium heat. Add eggplant strips, sambal paste and sauté for 15 minutes, until tender and the skin is slightly glossy.

Serve with steamed rice.

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