Brinjal in Dark Sauce
This is a pot luck dish. I guarantee you it will be a hit because it is flavourful yet not as filling as the many meat dishes making their grand appearance.
It is a quick dinner solution if you are harried, it is a satisfying meal if you are looking to tone down carbs for dinner but it is also an excellent contribution should you ever need to squeeze your brains in search of a complementary dish for a pot luck.
Think about it, whenever pot luck is announced, meat-eaters would probably be gunning to make the protein because meat is a reliable source to impart fat and therefore taste; improving that dish's probability of being a hit among guests.
BUT since we don't do conventional here, my advice is to go down the road less traveled and let brinjal be your ally.
The beautiful thing about brinjal (or aubergine) is that it soaks up flavour so acquiescently, you are fully certain of the outcome once you have the aromatics well balanced.
And it is so easy to balance aromatics.
Let me show you!
First, fry tiny ikan bilis followed by the bigger ones and set aside.
Next, in the same oil, fry dried shrimps until they turn golden or when the smell becomes fragrant. Then, add bird eye chillies and some scallions.
Now add chopped brinjal cubes, add soy sauce followed by kicap manis. In high heat, add some water and close the wok lid. (You can add some sugar if you want to balance the taste.)
Stir often and add water to keep cooking the brinjal cubes through.
After 7-10 minutes or when you feel that the brinjal is becoming mushy, add remaining scallions and turn off the heat. Then, scatter the small and bigger ikan bilis before serving.
That's it, chop chop didn't break a sweat.
I'll probably experiment more with this base recipe in the future, maybe I'll use fermented black beans or salted fish as a substitute to the ikan bilis.. til the next experiment!
Recipe serves 2-4:
Prep time: 7-10 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
1 tbsp of small ikan bilis
1 1/2 tbsp of big ikan bilis
1 stalk of scallion
2-3 bird eye chillies
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp kicap manis (sweet soy sauce)
1/2 tsp sugar to balance (optional)
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