I never thought that I’d actually like aubergine one day…just like I didn’t think I’d ever like capsicum or bittergourd or celery. Yup, I was the typical vegetable-hating child. But here I am, all grown-up and actually enjoying the taste of vegetables… and before I lose my teeth too.
Anyway, none of my housemates (aka my family) would touch aubergine – one, because he is a boy and the other because she is a child. So, when I cook aubergine, I eat it all on my own…which I don’t mind at all.
My favourite aubergine recipe is simple – one that my aunt cooks all the time (and of course, my uncle won’t touch it). She fries the aubergine slices and sets them aside. Then, she sautes chopped garlic, shallots and bird’s eye chilli, and add a dash of soy sauce. She mixes the aubergine and the sauteed ingredients, and it’s absolutely delicious.
She has been cooking aubergine like this for years, and a month ago she served up something similar but with some nice twists.
She used yellow bean paste (I’m into this ingredient now), and adds a drizzle of lime juice just before serving the aubergine.
I love how the aubergine absorbs the salty-heaty fragrant onion-garlic-chilli mixture… and a dash of sourness actually rounds it all up real nicely.
The best thing about my aunt’s new recipe is that she steams the aubergine now. That means the dish is healthier, and less oil gets splattered on the kitchen floor which means less mopping to do.
I don’t really care about the oil clogging my arteries; the drudgery of housework bothers me more.
It takes all of 20 minutes to cook this dish, and I am glad my aunt exchanges recipes with her neighbours when they chat in the playground (and that my imp’s stunts on the swing doesn’t distract her from doing so).
Aubergine With Yellow Bean Paste
1 medium aubergine, sliced
1 tablespoon cooking oil
2-3 shallots (or half an onion), chopped finely
2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
2-3 bird’s eye chilli (or 1/2 red chilli), sliced
1 tablespoon of yellow bean paste
(or substitute with 1 tablespoon of light soy sauce)
1 calamansi lime, optional
Quarter the aubergine lengthwise, and cut into 4in/10cm slices. Steam for 8-10 minutes, or until softened. You can also use a microwave oven to steam the aubergines. Set aside.
In the meantime, heat the cooking oil over medium heat. Saute the chopped shallots, garlic and chilli until fragrant. Then, add the bean paste and saute until fragrant.
Add the fried mixture to the steamed aubergine, and drizzle with lime juice just before serving.