A pleasure for the eye and tongue, this classic Indonesian dish has been one of my favorites for a long time.
1 big eggplant, cut into small circular pieces
Chilli peppers (depends on desired spice level)
2 shallots, finely diced
2 cloves of garlic, finely diced
1 tomato, fresh or canned (if fresh, cut into small pieces)
Salt and sugar, to taste
2 tablespoons cooking oil
Spring onion for garnish
Before cooking the eggplant, place them inside a bowl or a plate and coat it with salt. This is done to pull out water from the eggplant (SCIENCE, BABY). Eggplant is a very juicy vegetable, and if you cook it just like that, it would be very watery and unpleasant when bitten. Leave it for at least half an hour, and you will see dark brown water accumulating in your bowl. Throw the water away, and set the eggplant aside.
If you’re great with multitasking, then heat 2 tablespoons of cooking oil (I use corn oil) in a pan while extracting juices out of your eggplant. Fry shallots and garlic until golden brown, and put in your tomato. Be careful when you’re cooking the tomato, some tomatoes are watery and some are dry — continuously add water if it’s dry to prevent your dish to burn. Then, put in your desired amount of chilli peppers (I usually put 5 in) and keep cooking until the tomato turns soft into a paste. It is important not to put the chilli peppers on the start, because it will release very strong smell that would make everyone’s eyes burn and throat scorching.
When it is done, add in the salted eggplant and cover your pan until it turns soft. Add in salt and sugar to taste. Sprinkle spring onion for garnish, and the dish is ready to be served.