Every once in a while, you chance upon a killer recipe that is not just super delish, hitting all the right notes but also easy to make and that you know will feature often in your kitchen after trying just once. This is one of those.
Terong Balado is an Indonesian dish, made of eggplants cooked in a tomato-chili sauce. There are variations to this - some that have more sauce and eaten with rice or like how Chef Madhu Menon made it, a drier version that makes a perfect appetizer. And an elegant one at that. The addition of fresh tomatoes and basil leaves just takes it to another level! I urge you to try this out once. You will be hooked.
1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/2" thick roundels
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
a handful of basil leaves, chopped
1 small tomato, chopped
2-3 tbsp vegetable oil
For the sauce:
1 tbsp shallots
1 tbsp minced garlic
2 tsp red chili paste (or fresh red chillies or sambal olek)
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp sugar
1-2 tsp lime juice
1.5 tsp vegetable oil
Rub the eggplant roundels with soy sauce and sesame oil on both sides. Keep aside to marinate.
Put the shallots, red chili paste, garlic and about 1/2 a tsp of oil in a blender to make a paste.
In a frying pan, heat 1 tsp of oil. Add the paste and fry for about 3-4 minutes. Add the sugar and salt. Add the tomato puree and about a tbsp of water and let it cook for another 2-3 minutes. Switch off the stove and add lime juice. The sauce is done. Rub some of this sauce on the marinating eggplant slices.
Heat a skillet and add 1 tbsp oil. Place the eggplant slices, one next to another and let them cook for 3-4 minutes. Then flip them over to cook for another 3-4 minutes on the other side.
Arrange the slices in a plate and smear the remaining sauce over them. Scatter the chopped basil and fresh tomatoes over the dish. Eat and experience heaven in each bite! :)