Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Ensaladang Talong ala Beancounter (Asian Style Eggplant Salad)

This was one of the first things I learned to cook as a youngster. I remember being introduced to this by a friend, Nguyen Thi Bich Lieu aka Giao, who is a Vietnamese-Filipino. She was in primary school when her family left Vietnam and settled in the Philippines. After a few years, most of them moved to the west coast of Australia. She chose to stay.

I can recall this was served as a side to inihaw na tulingan (grilled bonito). It’s sweet, sour, salty, and spicy flavour was the perfect accompaniment to such a strong flavoured fish.

Thank you very much Giao! I have not forgotten it since. I have modified the recipe slightly but the essence I kept intact.

I don’t think this is “authentic” Vietnamese. Giao’s recipe had to make do with what’s available. That is probably why the herbs which are normally found in Vietnamese cooking are noticeably absent. Mint and coriander were not easy to come by then. Adding them creates another level of flavour.

Ensaladang Talong ala Beancounter

4 -6 Lebanese eggplants (shallow fried or grilled)
1-2 spring onions chopped
1-2 cloves garlic chopped
1-2 siling labuyo sliced (bird’s eye chillies)
2 teaspoons palm sugar (white sugar is an OK substitute)
1 tablespoon fish sauce
Juice of one lime (or two calamansi if you have them)
Mint and coriander (optional)

I actually prefer to grill my eggplants for the smoky flavour. You would not get this by frying. But because I needed to get dinner ready fairly quickly frying was the only way to go.

If you’re going to grill your eggplants make sure you keep them whole. Use low to medium fire/heat. Turn your eggplants regularly. The skin will blister and turn black but the insides will remain just right and moist. It’s better to do this outside the house if you can as the aroma lingers.

If you’re not so inclined frying could work just as well sans the smokiness. Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise before frying. Fry skin side first. Turn over after a couple of minutes and cook until golden brown.

Whatever method you use you need to remove the skin.

Combine all the salad ingredients together (except for the eggplant). Adjust the taste to your liking. Add the skinned eggplant. Serve with your favourite fish.


Julie A. Cox said...

Wow this looks so delicious. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

Dax Francisco said...

My dad used to make something similar to that. I remember it was inihaw na talong, mixed with a bit of water, salt, and calamansi. Wala sya masyadong spices. Yours looks more delish! Pero mas masarap pag inihaw, di ba?

The Beancounter said...

No worries Julie! Do try it...

The Beancounter said...

Dax, where is your dad from? I remember my lola used to make something similar..

Mas masarap inihaw syempre... usually i would ihaw kaso walang oras that night...

Dax Francisco said...

My dad was from Batangas :)

Impromptu Diva said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Impromptu Diva said...

We just had ensaladang talong to go with the bulalo (perfect for the rainy weather, as it's been raining hard here in san diego) you're right it's better "inihaw" so what I did was to "ihaw" it in my stove in an open fire... just to get the skin burnt(as you said to have that smoky flavor) then I microwaved it... it took me a few minutes lang... my family loved it!

I have to try your version, reading the calamansi in the ingredients makes me crave for it na!
great blog, and glad to see a kababayan...
sending my warmest greetings,

The Beancounter said...

Ala eh Dax, kaya naman pala... where i grew in San Pablo city maraming similarities with Batangas!

The Beancounter said...

wow, bulalo on a rainy day! with calamansi and patis..yum!

Thanks for dropping by malou! I've been visiting your site quite a bit... yet to comment though!

The Nomadic Pinoy said...

This looks like the perfect partner to fried fish - thanks for sharing this, will definitely try it!

The Beancounter said...

Yup, fried fish nga Nomadic Pinoy! Galunggong especially!