Recipe: Sautéed Aubergines

True story:  I was looking for eggplants in the market because eggplants are one of my favourite vegetables.  I knew I could buy it anywhere so I thought I’d look.  Eggplants in the UK are like eggplants in the US.  They’re big and fat.  I think they’re called Japanese eggplants in Philippine supermarkets.  But, I digress.  I can’t remember if it was actually in the Ipswich market or if it was at the shops, but I remember asking someone where the eggplants were.  All I got was a blank stare.  Then I remembered.  They don’t call eggplants here eggplants.  They call them AUBERGINES!  To make things complicated, this is the phonetic spelling:  br-zhn, br-jn

The easiest eggplant recipe (apart from slice thinly and fry and dip into soy sauce with garlic) is to sauté the eggplant in garlic, onion and tomatoes.  I find comfort in cooking this because it reminds me of home.  I think this became a quick favourite at home (my mom likes it, my brother loves it, my sister hates it and my dad can’t eat eggplant—even stevens!) because it works well as a rice topping.  It’s quick, it’s easy and it’s a vegetable!  I remember eating it with shrimp paste and rice.  Yum! 🙂

I cooked this on Sunday because Sunday was Day 1 of The Challenge.  Since I moved to the UK, I usually cook this with pork mince.  But in true challenge-facing spirit, I cooked it the way I used to cook it in the Philippines, sautéed with oyster sauce!

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium-sized eggplant, diced
  • 2 medium-sized salad tomatoes, diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a shallow pan.  Once the oil is relatively hot (not smoking hot though!), add onions.  Sauté until the onions are transluscent, then add the tomatoes.  The tomatoes should turn slightly mushy (if at this stage the tomatoes and onions look slightly dry, add a 2-3 tablespoons of water).  Add the garlic (my mom always taught me that you should add garlic first when sautéing, but so many chefs say that you add garlic last because garlic burns fairly quickly and adding garlic near the end of the sautéing allows you to control the intensity of the garlic taste in the dish).
  2. Once the garlic is slightly browned this is usually the stage where you add your meat (in my case, due to the challenge, I didn’t add any meat) and brown it.  Once the meat is browned, add your oyster sauce.  Simmer for 3 minutes.
  3. Add the aubergine and simmer, stirring occasionally for 7-10 minutes.  The dark purple of the aubergine skin should turn slightly brown and the flesh should take on the colour of the tomatoes.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste (if the oyster sauce hasn’t made it salty enough for you).  To finish, add the sesame oil.

Serving suggestion:   Serve over a bowl of steamed rice.

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