Saturday, November 9, 2013

#151 Asian Eggplant Dip

Eggplant or also known an aubergine, brinjal, brinjal eggplant, melongene, garden egg or guinea squash. Wow, I didn't know this vegetable has so many different names! We call it talong in the Philippines. They come in different variety names, in different colors and can be cooked in many different ways. Back home, we throw it on a hot grill or steam it, and  then dip it in a mixture of soysauce, lemon, chopped green onions and crushed fresh hot chili pepper. A very simple poor man's meal. We also use it in stir fries and add it in soups as well. I didn't know of any other ways to cook it then. When I moved to the United States,  I was surprised to discover the many wonderful ways it can be enjoyed. Ratatouille, Parmigiana di melanzane,  Baba Ganoush, Moussaka, etc. So delicious!

I was craving for eggplants, so when I visited Ranch 99, which is an Asian grocery store, I picked up a couple of giant eggplants. Although there are many ways to enjoy it, I always go back to how we prepared it while I was growing up.  Good old grilling and making my spicy hot soy sauce dip. The taste always brings back great memories. 
Once I took it off the grill, I stared at it for a long time because it was then that I realize, I did not have green onions and soysauce. I ran out of soysauce! For the first time!  

Instead of grabbing my key to drive to the nearest grocery store, I  started searching for baba ganoush recipe, I quickly found it and learned that it is easy to make IF I had tahini, which is the major ingredient. :/ I searched the fridge to see what I had, and found lemon, ginger and garlic. I quickly peeled and  minced the garlic and ginger, I knew in my heart that the mix of flavors will work! No need for me to rush to the grocery store! I then scraped the meat of the grilled eggplant and mixed all other ingredients with it in a bowl, squeezed in the fresh lemon juice, and then added the salt to taste. What would I do with out salt? :) Next, I added ground pepper.. Yum! Then, I sprinkled red pepper flakes, mixed it all good, and a great asian flavor inspired dip is created!
It was a great dish to enjoy with left over crackers and that smoked salmon that I picked up from Trader Joes that's been in the fridge for a while.
Ready to make yours? Here's how:
2 large eggplants, halved, grilled until soft
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 root ginger, peeled and minced
1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste
red pepper flakes to taste
smoked salmon, optional
  1. Scrape the meat off the grilled eggplant using a fork.
  2. In a bowl, mix the eggplants, minced garlic, minced ginger, lemon, salt, mix well.
  3. Add pepper and red pepper flakes to taste.


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