Eggplant is one of my favourite vegetables. But, I rarely cook with eggplant because it is a little expensive.
Just before day 151, I had to stop myself from jumping with glee at my local supermarket when I noticed that the eggplants were selling for only $2/kg (compared to the usual $7-8/kg) despite appearing quite fresh still. Needless to say, I bought a few too many eggplants.
Up to day 151, I had cooked plain eggplant stir fry, eggplant with pine nuts and eggplant with mince. Even then, I still had 2 eggplants on day 151. I did not want to waste the precious $2/kg eggplant. So, I rummaged through my fridge and found that I had all the ingredients in the image below (I forgot to include fresh chillies and garlic in the image).
Although the ingredient combo did not quite scream South East Asian, I decided to cook a sambal using the base ingredients for a simple sambal that my mom taught me: garlic, onion, tomato, chilli and sugar. As sambal is meant to be eaten in small amounts, there were enough ingredients for 6 serves. Although the sambal did not contain complex flavours or spices, it was delicious, light and nourishing.
To cook an eggplant, mushroom and zucchini sambal, start by cutting 2 zucchinis, 4 button mushrooms and 1 spring onion into bite size pieces. Cut 2 cloves of garlic, 4 bird eye chillies, 2 small brown onions and 3 tomatoes finely. Cut 1 eggplant (~650g) into cubes.
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat in a frypan. Place the eggplant cubes skin-down in the hot oil. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over the eggplant pieces. Stir fry the eggplant pieces for 1-2 minutes (depending on how big the eggplant pieces are). Remove the eggplants when they are half-cooked and set aside.
Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat in a frypan. Add the garlic. Cook until fragrant. Add the brown onions, tomatoes and chillies. Add 1 teaspoon of sugar. Mix well. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the mushrooms and zucchinis. Mix well. Add salt to taste. Stir for 3-5 minutes. Add the eggplant pieces and spring onion. Mix well. Cook for a further 1 minute. Serve the sambal with steamed rice.