I promised a recipe from our time away. While in Penang we did a cooking class with a local home cook called Pearly. During the class we went on a tour of a amazing local market and then went to Pearly's home to learn how to cook three dishes and then share for lunch. Although none of the dishes on the menu were vegetarian Pearly happily adapted them for me so I could still be a part of the class. If you go to Penang you must find time to go to one of Pearly's classes (see here for details). I asked Pearly if I could share one of the dishes here with you all. This is the vegetarian version of the Sambal Goreng which traditionally uses prawns instead of the eggplant. This was my favorite dish we made, I love the cashew coconut sauce and the fried chillies. So good! Although there is a bit of cutting involved it comes together really quickly. Serve with rice and some greens for a lovely meal.
In Pearly's book she writes that she doesn't know why this dish is called Sambal Goreng as it doesn't contain any sambal!
1/4 cup coconut cream
1/4 cup of water
4-5 tbsp of vegetable oil
4-6 shallots sliced
4-6 gloves of garlic sliced
4 large fresh chillies (2 red and 2 green) seeds removed and sliced
4 small purple eggplants
20 cashews toasted and chopped to garnish
1/3 cup of water
2 stalks of lemongrass finely sliced
1/4 tsp of salt
** if you don't mind shrimp paste add 1 flat tsp of shrimp paste but works fine without it.
Squeeze the tamarind repeatedly in water. Rest for 15 minutes and then squeeze again. Strain the water off using your fingers (not a sieve) and place in a blender. Put all the other spice paste ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth and set aside.
In a small bowl mix the coconut cream and water. Heat wok with the vegetable oil. Fry the shallots until crisp and set aside. Keeping the same oil, fry the garlic until crisp and set aside. Remove all the oil (and set to one side) except 1 tsp and fry the chillies for about 10 seconds and set aside.
Add the oil back to the wok and fry the eggplants until soft and golden. Remove from the wok and set aide. Fry the spice paste and coconut milk over a low heat. Bring to a gentle simmer for about 5 minutes.
Pour the white sauce into a serving dish. Place the eggplant and chillies on top of the sauce. Add the toasted cashews and garnish with the fried shallots and garlic. Serve immediately.