Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Eggplant Salad (Ensaladang Talong)

This Filipino Eggplant salad takes quite a bit of preparation but it’s well worth the effort. It complements main dishes that are dry like fried pork chops but it is also the companion side dish to the stew dish, puchero.

Filipino Eggplant Salad Ingredients:

  •  6 – 8 eggplants
  • 3 – 6 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 2 tsp of salt
  •   1  thinly sliced Onions
  •  1  diced tomato
  • 6 – 8 tsp of spicy vinegar
  • 1 tsp of black pepper
  • salted Shrimp 

                Note: The amount of garlic and vinegar will depend on personal taste and also on how long you intend to store the salad. The longer it is stored, the stronger the bite of the spicy vinegar and garlic, so you may lessen these ingredients accordingly.

Filipino Eggplant Salad Cooking Instructions:

  • Prepare eggplant
  • The best way is to grill the washed eggplants over hot coals.
  • This brings out a deep taste to the eggplant.
  • The second best way is to bake the eggplants in a 350-degree Fahrenheit oven for 20 – 25 minutes.
  • This method produces a drier eggplant which is easier to peel.
  • When expedience is of essence, or there are no hot coals available, just boil the eggplant in a big pot for 5 minutes.
  • Let the eggplant cool. Peel the skin off, trying to preserve as much of the flesh as possible.
  • With a fork, mash the eggplant in a bowl. Stir in the vinegar, garlic, tomatoes, onion, salt and pepper
  • Top with salted Shrimp 
  • Cool for half an hour to optimize flavor before serving.

Note: Spicy vinegar is, ideally, made from coconut and flavored with small red peppers called siling labuyo, slivers of small white onion called sibuyas ilokano, and peppercorns. You may also substitute regular apple cider vinegar or clear distilled vinegar. Also, in my experience, I’ve found that people either LOVE this salad or are indifferent to it. There have been times when I had nothing to eat along with the salad and just ate it with plain hot rice. Be forewarned, though. The garlic smell will taint your breath for several hours after you ingest the salad. If you fall into the category of salad lover, then the garlic breath will be a small price to pay for this gastronomic delight!

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