We're celebrating the EGGPLANT for this edition of Weekend Wokking, as chosen by last month's host, Darlene of Blazing Hot Wok.
I was washing my dishes and lost track of time so the eggplants became oversteamed and lost all their lovely purple color. I had made these before and simply pan-fried them instead of steaming and also pan-frying them, but I can't manage to find those photos.
Shrimp-stuffed eggplants can sometimes be found at dim sum restaurants. In my previous attempt, I was trying to recreate a similar version that my ba noi (Vietnamese paternal grandmother) had taught me long ago. I could have sworn all she had me do was pan-fry them, but when I did that, the shrimp paste wouldn't stick to the eggplant. So remembering how nicely the various veggies came out when I made Yong Tau Foo (Chinese Stuffed Tofu) because I steamed and pan-fried them, I did the same here.
You could certainly serve with a bean curd sauce like I did for the yong tau foo, but I was lazy and simply drizzled bottled sweet chili sauce on top.
Ca Tim Nhan Cha Tom (Vietnamese Eggplant with Shrimp Paste)
1 Japanese eggplant, sliced diagonally
Plan on about 3 to 4 shrimp per slice of eggplant
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Pinch of salt or a squirt of Nuoc Mam (Vietnamese Fish Sauce)
Pinch of sugar
Japanese eggplants are the long version, with much less black mucous and bitterness than compared to the fat, big kind.
Cut off the stem, then slice the eggplant diagonally. You actually don't have to salt these as they're not as bitter as the large eggplants, but I do so anyway. Lightly sprinkle them with salt and leave to drain in a colander.
Count how many slices of eggplant you have and depending on the size, count out about 3 to 4 shrimp per slice. Peel and devein the shrimp. Mince in a food processor with 2 cloves of garlic, a pinch of salt or squirt of fish sauce, and a pinch of sugar.
Then rinse the eggplant slices and shake dry. Spoon the shrimp paste over the eggplant slices and lay them on a steamer tray.
I used a bamboo steamer. The plain eggplant for Chinese Eggplant Salad was on the other layer.
Steam for about 15 minutes until the shrimp paste turns pink. I oversteamed so the eggplant lost its color and was a bit softer than I prefer.
Pan-fry until golden. Drizzle with sweet chili fish sauce. Or you could make the bean curd sauce in my recipe for Dau Hu Nhoi Cha Tom voi Sot Chao Ot (Vietnamese Shrimp Paste-Stuffed Tofu with Fermented Bean Curd Chili Sauce).
If you'd like to join in Weekend Wokking but don't know what to make, here's some of my other eggplant recipes:
Chinese Eggplant Salad
Gaeng Kiaw Waan (Thai Green Curry with Thai Eggplants)
Mam Nem (Vietnamese Fermented Anchovy Sauce) with Thai Eggplants
Melanzane alla Parmigiana (Italian Eggplant Parmesan)
I'm submitting this recipe to Weekend Wokking, a world-wide food blogging event created by Wandering Chopsticks celebrating the multiple ways we can cook one ingredient. This month's secret ingredient is the EGGPLANT. The host this month is Marija of Palachinka. Check out her eggplant round-up for 12 eggplant recipe ideas. If you'd like to participate or to see the secret ingredient, check who's hosting next month.
1 year ago today, Bananas Frita (Cuban Fried Bananas).