Friday, August 12, 2011

Kecap terong: Indonesian eggplant with sweet soy sauce

This dish is inspired by Maya, who will probably not eat it.   When she tastes it, she will probably say "it is too sweet, and I am kind of off eggplant."  But we are having it because of what I call the Maya principle, which is that you get to make and eat what you want when you are at home.  When you are in a restaurant, you eat their cuisine. (I am talking about the ethnic restaurants that we usually go to, and not what Maya used to call "exotic" places like IHOP.) You eat Turkish food in a Turkish restaurant, Mexican food in a Mexican restaurant, and Galitzianer food in a Galitzianer restaurant.  My inclination at home is to try and prepare an ethnically and regionally consistent meal (themed to the headlines if possible) but over time, Maya has worn me down and convinced me that I don't have to do that.  We had a bumper crop of eggplants from our CSA so tonight for Shabbat dinner with our farkashert Jambalaya (recipe to follow soon, I promise) we are having Indonesian eggplant with sweet soy sauce.  We were going to have it South Indian style (I thought that the spicy peanut sauce would bring a certain harmony to the Southern main dish) but that seems to contravene the Maya principle a bit.  Besides, the Indonesian variety has a much smaller calorie/Points impact (btw I am back on Weight Watchers, another reason I have been posting less) so it seemed like a better choice.  Like the Southern Indian version, it is adapted from Julie Sanhi's Moghul Microwave. Eggplants do very nicely in microwaves.

Kecap terong:  Indonesian eggplant in sweet soy sauce

  • 1 to 1.5 pounds eggplants, ideally the long thin Asian ones, if not a regular one will do
  • 2 medium onions
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mace
  • 3 tablespoons kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce -- you may substitute 5 teaspoons soy sauce and 4 teaspoons sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce or Bragg's aminos
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1-2 fresh red chili peppers

  1. If using Asian eggplants, cut into 1/2 inch thick slices.  If using a regular large eggplant, cut into quarters the long way and then into slices.
  2. Quarter the onions and slice.
  3. Mix together the spices in one dish, and the soy sauces and lime juice in an other.
  4. Heat oil for 2 minutes in a 2-3 quart microwave-safe casserole.
  5. Remove casserole from the microwave, toss the eggplants and onions with the oil.  Sprinkle with the spices and toss again.  
  6. Cover with a piece of paper towel and zap for 4-5 minutes.  Time is difficult to determine since it is a function of the power of the microwave, the shape of the dish, and the density of the eggplants.  It is also a function of the preference of the diners.  My wife likes her eggplants very tender, so I tend to cook for the longer time period.
  7. Removed from the oven, and pour over the liquids.  Add the chilies now, sliced, if you are using them. Cover with the casserole lid.
  8. Return to the oven, zap for another 4-5 minutes. 
  9. Leave at least 5 minutes fore serving.  This reheats well, and is ideally served with white rice, but we will be having it with Jambalaya.

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