Posts Tagged ‘brinjal’

Roast Aubergine with Shallot Oil

In roast, vege, vietnamese on March 7, 2011 at 3:39 am

Brinjal is one of my favourite vegetables. Slice, rub with light soya sauce and pan-fry wit a little oil and ta-daa!! – a tasty, simple dish to go with rice. The brinjal yong tau foo (a variety of ingredients stuffed with fish paste) is also a must-have for me.

For something a bit more impressive, try this great Vietnamese dish. The ingredients are easy to get and it’s hard to screw up this recipe.

What I really love about this is the layers of tastes. First, the smoky burnt headiness. If you always burn your food, this is the dish for you. Place the brinjals over a fire (your gas stove burner will do) until the skin is burnt on all sides. Black is good (you can peel off the burnt bits later), as this means the insides are completely cooked. Eating raw brinjal is like eating an unripe banana. Not pleasant. Then, you have the wicked taste of fish sauce dip heated together with spring onions. A drizzle of shallot oil. A generous sprinkling of crispy-fried shallots, crunchy and sweet-sharp. Heaven!

I’ve made this twice. First was the best (like first love), because I read from the recipe book. Second time, so-so to me but my parents loved it. They came down after Chinese New Year and I was really excited about making this for them, and teaching my mum a new way to cook brinjal.

I was winging it and had left out one ingredient (spring onion – which I couldn’t get from my regular supermarket and mini market – damn climate change and erratic food supply!) and forgotten the seasoning (salt and pepper) and one step (poking holes into the brinjal before grilling it). Oh, and strangely, I couldn’t find any long brinjals (which are always available – must be the climate change again), so, had to settle for the round eggplant.

As my father was getting hungry (and cranky) I also skipped leaving the grilled brinjal to sweat it out in a plastic bag. It still turned out okay but could’ve been better if I followed everything to the T. Sometimes, I leave out or substitute ingredients I can’t get or skip steps to speed things up. But this is one instance where the best results are guaranteed only if you use everything on the ingredient list and follow every single step.

Shopping list: brinjal/eggplant/aubergine (get the slender type – the round ones are less flavourful and are harder to cook evenly), spring onions, and for the fish sauce dip: cili padi and lime juice

From the pantry: crispy-fried shallots (make your own – you can buy but they’re all crunch and no taste), shallot oil (from frying the shallots), salt, black pepper, and for the fish sauce dip: rice vinegar, fish sauce and garlic

Hardware: plastic bag

Can I do it?: Idiot-proof. You can burn your food!

Tip: Want to do something different at a barbecue? Serve this! The fire’s ready. Just prepare the fish sauce dip and fried shallots in advance.

Credit: Vietnamese Food by Bobby Chinn

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