I have something to show you today, a rather quick and easy recipe, suitable for serving as an Asian fusion salad or with cooked rice: Vietnamese Roasted Eggplant.
(serving 4, with white rice)
- 1 large eggplant, washed
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp. canola oil
- Chopped green part from 2 scallions (only green part needed for this recipe, but keep the white for other use, because they are the most aromatic part of the scallions)
- Fish sauce mix
- 2 tbsp. Fish sauce + ½ tbsp. water
- 1 ½ tbsp. sugar
- 1 tbsp. sweet sour chili sauce (optional, can be replaced by 1 tsp. of lime juice and ¼ finely chopped chili. But beware, its hotness and spiciness depends on different kinds of chili you use, so use with caution.)
Prepare a hot, fill half with water baking pan on the bottom of your oven. Place your rack on the next lowest level. Put the eggplant with skin on the rack, like mine. Turn the oven to 300 degree Celsius (or yours’ highest temperature). Leave the eggplant in the oven for 30 to 45 minutes; check at 30 minutes and then at 5-minute-regular level.
Don’t worry; it won’t get burn because of the water pan at the bottom of the oven. It creates enough steam to keep the temperature stable and even everywhere the whole oven, rather than focusing on burning the top of our precious eggplant.
In Vietnam, we usually make this eggplant dish in BBQ style, meaning roasting eggplant on rack heated by burning coals underneath (open fire). This style will bring out the most flavor of the eggplant, in addition to giving them a smoky edge to bring them to the next level of wonderfulness. If you have the chance, try it.
while your eggplant are being roasted in the oven. Let’s make soft boiled eggs. I used to have lots of problems with boiling eggs; can you believe it? But now, I have learned to boil eggs to exactly how I want them to be, by using a timer.
To use my method, first put medium-size eggs in cool-water-filled pot, heat them up until they start to boil. Then start counting. (Remember; only count when the water starts to boil) The fun starts now! If you want soft-boiled eggs (the white cooked, but the york is just heated to warm, not cooked), count for 5 minutes. Then take them out of the heat immediately, submerge them into ice-cold water for 2 more minutes to prevent any further cooking. If you want medium-boiled eggs (the white cooked, outer part of the york is cooked, but the center remained runny), count 7 minutes. Then use the ice water to quickly cool them down. If you want firm-boiled (both white and york are fully cooked through) eggs count 12 minutes. Then again, the ice water rapid cooling method is used.
My method is for standard for medium size commercial eggs, regularly sold in supermarket. If using different sizes of eggs, kindly adjust accordingly.
is the making of the fish sauce mix. It is super duper easy. Just mix all of the ingredients listed above into a bowl, stir well until all dissolved. Pour it into the halved boiled eggs. Like this. Leave them there to help the egg absorb the savor of the fish sauce mix. Also, the runny york will enrich the fish sauce. Uhhm, nom nom.
Put the chopped scallion into a heatproof glass bowl or a baking ramekin. Prepare the scallion infused oil by heating 2 tbsp. of canola oil in a pan until very hot, pour it into the chopped scallion bowl. Leave until further use.
By now, your eggplant should be ready. Check the readiness of your eggplant by its softness. The eggplant is ready when it is very soft, the size of the eggplant also decreases by very visible amount, and the skin is wrinkled up. Like in this picture. Take it out of the oven. Leave it on a plate and let cool down a bit until able to touch.
Now your eggplant is still warm but easy to the touch. Rip the skin all out and discard. Like Lovely demonstrated in this picture. If your eggplant skin do not come out very easily, put it back in the heated oven and roast for another 5 minutes.
Tear up the eggplant into thin strips. Then cut the strips vertically into bite size. Like this.
Spoon oil-scallion mix onto the prepared eggplant. Pour the egg – fish sauces mix all over.