Eggplant Sambal Malacca Style
The Eggplant Sambal Malacca style dish is my version of ‘nonya sambal terung’ the famous Malaccan eggplant dish. Sambal dishes always begin with an aromatic spice paste that must be cooked properly until the oils separate from the paste, otherwise the chili will taste raw and unpalatable. Sweet seasoning sauces, such as kicap manis, are added to the sambal for unique sweetness and ground cumin for prolonged flavor. The long thin Asian eggplant is preferred for sambal dishes. Unlike the large oval eggplant, which need to be salted to cook down and to remove its bitter taste, the long, slender and light purple variety does not need salting to cook down, and when cooked it renders a sweet and mellow flavor. This type of eggplant is now widely available. The success of maintaining the texture of this dish is not to stir the eggplant while it slowly simmers in the sambal sauce, otherwise the dish will end up mushy. This delicious eggplant is an excellent side dish that goes well with Malaysian Potato Sambal, lamb chops, baked chicken or even as a topping over flat breads.
1 Ginger, peeled and chopped, 2″ piece
3 Shallots, chopped
4 Garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
3 Roma tomatoes, cut in half
5 Red jalapeno chilies, cut in half or 1.5 Tbsp. Sambal Ulek
1 tsp – Cumin, ground
1/4 cup – Water
1/4 cup Peanut oil or canola oil
6 Tbsp Kicap manis (Sweet soy sauce) ***use ABC brand***
To Taste – Salt
1. Begin with the spice paste by placing ginger, shallots, garlic, tomatoes, chilies, cumin and 1/4 cup water in a blender and blend until you have a fragrant and smooth bright reddish orange paste.
2. Heat the oil in a saucepan or 12 inch skillet over medium heat. Carefully add the spice paste to the side of the pan to prevent splattering then gently move the paste to the middle and stir to incorporate the spice paste into the oil. Allow the paste to cook, stirring occasionally to prevent the paste from sticking to the pan and until the oils separate and appear on the surface, about 15 minutes.
3. Now add the kicap manis and stir well. Next gently place the eggplant slices on the top of the sambal and do not stir. Cover the pot, lower the heat and allow the eggplant to cook until soften, about 15 minutes. When the eggplant is soft, gently fold the eggplant into the sambal. Taste; add a pinch of salt if needed. Serve the Eggplant Sambal Malacca style dish warm with brown or white rice.