I have a really simple recipe today. One for eggplant lovers, like me. A simple garlic chili eggplant dish made with simmered chunks of eggplant, cooked up with plenty of garlic, fresh red chili peppers, simple aromatic Asian flavors and fresh herbs. This is something I make on a weeknight, when I am cooking for one. Not that this is a recipe for one, but actually cause I am the only one that likes (actually, loves) aubergine. So I revel in these moments and enjoy leftovers for the lunch the next day.
Do I need to salt the eggplant?
I only ever salt my eggplant if I am frying it. Reason be, is eggplants soak up oil (think sponge) and salting helps reduce that, plus it aids in faster browning. What the salting process, referred to as “degorging”, does is collapses the air pockets of the eggplant’s sponge-like flesh, preventing it from absorbing too much oil when cooking. Good to know. Also, nowadays commercially cultivated, modern variety eggplants aren’t as bitter as they used to be, so it’s no longer necessary. Plus if you are buying young, freshly harvested eggplants this is nor here nor there.
Garlic chili eggplant can be enjoyed on its own or with rice
Okay, I did say that this was a recipe for two, but I am actually guilty of eating this all on it’s own. Yeah, I love eggplant that much. But if you are willing to share, it’s also terrific over steamed whole grain rice of if you want to enjoy even more vegetable magic serve it alongside sautéed pak choy, spinach or your other favorite greens.
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 red chilies, finely chopped (deseed and devein if you want less spice)
2 medium eggplants, chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup water (125 ml)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon brown sugar mascabado (or coconut palm sugar)
3 tablespoons freshly chopped mint
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Handful of freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley
1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the oil, garlic and chilies; sauté for 1-2 minutes.
2. Add the eggplant and salt, cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.
3. Reduce the heat to low, add half the water, then cover and cook for 5 minutes. Add the soy sauce, sugar and the remaining water. Cover and continue to cook on medium-low for 20 minutes, or until the eggplant has softened.
4. Add the fresh mint and cook for 2 minutes, then add lemon juice and taste. Feel free to adjust with a little more salt or lemon juice, if desired. Top with parsley before serving and enjoy!
NOTES: I like to serve this garlic chili eggplant with short grain brown rice (Rundkorn Naturreis). 3/4 cup (150 g) is more than enough for two people. The rice should be cooked in double the amount of water, for about 40-45 minutes, so plan ahead. The garlic chili eggplant takes about the same time, including preparation, so timing-wise brown rice is a good (and healthy) choice.
This is delicious when enjoyed immediately or I find even better the next day eaten cold.
I use my favorite olive oil for recipes like this. It is suitable for high heat and tastes just just as fantastic in salads. I either pick it up at the market or order it online.
If you make this Simmered Garlic Chili Eggplant recipe, I’d love to hear how it turned out for you! Be sure to rate it and leave a comment below to let me know! Especially if you have tips for other readers. Or take a picture and tag me on Instagram @ellerepublic and don’t foget to hashtag #ellerepublic so I don’t miss it!