I love eggplant. The best eggplant dish I ever tasted was a sambal belacan stir fry.
Sambal is a delicious chili paste with garlic, ginger and shallot. Belacan is a fermented shrimp paste with a strong aroma. Both are available ready made from Asian stores.
Many years ago I was a poor university student who worked for an Asian restaurant as a casual waitress. One evening, a casual cook rocked up to fill a shift. He made us a dish of sambal belacan eggplant for staff meal. The dish was so aromatic and delicious that I can still remember his nameless imagine today – cranky, middle age, distinctively Chinese-Malay with his strong accent.
My version of sambal balacan eggplant is really simple:
- cut the eggplant into large cubes, dust with potato starch
- in a frying pan with generous amount of cooking oil, fry some sambal paste, a little belacan, and some dried fried shallot (optional)
- add eggplant, a dash of oyster sauce, a dash of sesame oil, a dash of dark soy sauce, toss toss toss until the eggplant is cooked through
- for a smooth texture, mix 1 tsp corn flour with 6 tsp of water, add to the dish at the last stage of cooking
Nice with some hot boiled rice.