When I bought eggplant this week, I never thought that they going to become eggplant sambal. Actually I was thinking of making a theeyal or stir fry. Then how come they end up in sambal, yes there is reason for this. I borrowed a book from the library called “Singapore Cooking: Fabulous Recipes from Asia's Food Capital " by Terry Tan and Christopher Tan.It has big glossy pictures and looks like college biology text book. My hubby told me all of them are meat what do you want to do with it.
I told him, that I saw some vegetable dishes that I love to try. Since my fasting glucose is slightly creeping I decide to skip sweet dishes and plan to make only one sweet in a month. Rest of my adventures will be with savory. While going through the recipe it seemed too easy except for dried shrimp paste or belacan. When I looked at the substitution, if you are in Singapore then there will be vegetarian belacan paste which is available. Vegetarian belacan paste is fermented bean curd which has similar smell like the dried shrimp paste.
Sambal is a chili based south east Asian condiment. It is popular in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, southern Philippines and Sri Lanka and also in Netherlands and Suriname. Simplest form of Sambal olek is made with chili peppers and salt. Other add on will be onion, garlic, lemon grass, lemon juice , tamarind , dried shrimp paste etc. When they add belacan/shrimp paste it become Singapore, Malaysian version. Sambal ikan bilis is made with anchovies in them. Sambal kemieri contains candle nuts.
I made sambal paste with less chilies and lemon grass. Compared to 6 chilies used in the original recipe, I used two dried red chili and 1 teaspoon of paprika, with pearl onion/shallots, garlic, lemon grass ,soy sauce, tamarind paste and salt. My substitution for dried shrimp paste /belacan was soy sauce. Also added one onion to sambal as I thought eggplant alone may not enough for making one dish. Pan fried eggplant give slightly smoky flavor along with spice paste, tamarind paste and touch of sugar made the dish slightly sour, sweet, spicy and salt. All the flavors mingled and their marriage was awesome. Here goes my recipe. If you are lucky enough to find dried shrimp paste then it become authentic dish if not it become closer to authentic one. Usually sambal are enjoyed with rice. We enjoyed with our rotis for dinner.
One year ago: Strawberry-orange-pineapple-smoothie
Print recipe from here
What you need
Recipe adapted from “Singapore Cooking: Fabulous Recipes from Asia's Food Capital " by Terry Tan and Christopher Tan.
Eggplant:5 no ( I used Indian eggplant, sliced into thin long pieces of ½ inch thickness)
Onion: 1 cup (chopped into thin slices)
Paprika: 1 teaspoon
Tomato: 1 no
Tamarind paste: 1 teaspoon
Water: ¾ cup
Salt: ½ teaspoon
Olive oil: 2 tablespoon
Sambal spice paste
Dried red chili: 2no (If you want spicier increase the no up to 6 is fine, soaked in water 2 hours)
Pearl onions/ Shallots: 4no
Garlic: 2 cloves
Lemon grass: 1no
Water: 1 tablespoon
Yield: 2 tablespoon and 1/2 teaspoon
How I made
In a small food processor or blender, grind or pulse the soaked dried chilies, pearl onions, garlic and lemon grass with 1 tablespoon of water to form a coarse paste and set aside.
In a small bowl extract the tamarind juice with ½ cup of water by heating the tamarind in a microwave safe bowl for 15 seconds. Strain the juice and discard the solids and set aside.
In a skillet or pan add 2 tablespoon of olive oil and fry the thinly sliced eggplant for about ½ inch thickness. It took about 10 minutes in slow flame. When one side is cooked flip the other side and also cook well. Remove from the fire and set aside.
In the same pan add the entire ground paste and fry for 3 minutes then add chopped onion and fry for 5 minutes. To this add chopped tomato,paprika, salt and tamarind juice extract cook for another 3 minutes or until tomato is softened and combined well. Then add soya sauce and sugar and cook for another 2 minutes. To this add pan fried eggplant and mix everything so that all the eggplant get coated with spice paste, or you can serve the warm spice paste top of pan fried egg plant. I mixed eggplant and spice paste so that it get well combined.
Enjoy with warm rice! We enjoyed with Chapathi
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Yield: 4 serving
Verdict: Yummy, Mildly spiced
Will you make it again : yes I will
I am linking this egg plant sambal to Gluten free wednesdays hosted by Linda
Full plate Thursday hosted by Miz Helen
World Food Thursdays#4 hosted by Hella delicious
Tracking Mark Bittman and his buddies#6