Tuesday, June 24, 2008
I’ve never had an eggplant dish that I did not at least like and I doubt I will. IF I do, it will probably be due to pure execution or pure conception. I am sure it will in no way shape or form be the fault of this divine purple fruit. Eggplant in my book can do no wrong. So, how did this dish taste. This was nothing short of heavenly, I had it for lunch for two days after Tuesday’s dinner and I could’ve eaten more!
The recipe, Asiah’s Eggplant Curry, is from James Oseland’s wonderful book on the cuisine of Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia “The Cradle of Flavor“. If you are a fan of southeast Asian cuisine, then this book is a must. The prose is well composed and the chapters make for a great read about the area, it’s people, ingredients and of course recipes. Everything I have tried has been excellent including the best satays ever (which are NOT Thai BTW). For more information, back on egullet.org the members went through the whole book and cooked every single recipe. I contributed one or two myself. You can find that thread by clicking here.
The trickiest step in the recipe is frying the eggplant, other than that it is a quick weeknight dinner. I suppose you can bake them, but I bet they won’t be as luscious. So, the eggplant is rubbed with turmeric and fried. Then it is cooked in a mixture of coconut milk (I don’t think I’ve had a coconut milk based dish that I’ve hated either), shallots, garlic, cinnamon, anise, coriander seeds and tamarind pulp. The taste clearly reflects an Indian influence with the assertive use of spice.
To serve with it, I made another one of the recipes in the book. A simple carrot, shallot and cucumber pickle (Javanese Cucumber and Carrot Pickle). The vegetables are sliced finely on the mandolin and quick pickled using salt, boiling water and vinegar. It’s a refreshing cross between a pickle and a salad. Of course there was also a dollop of sambal and steamed rice. I normally would’ve made jasmine rice, but I had a lot of regular rice already made from last night and did not want to waste it.