(Harini’s Version of Balado Terong, origin: West Sumatra)
My mom’s family came from the west part of the Sumatra Island. We, the children, are very much addicted to the cuisine from this part of Indonesia. The food from this region tends to be VERY spicy and rich! One of my favorites is the spicy eggplant or balado terong. Balado is a red sauce made of chopped peppers, shallots, garlic, and salt. Terong is eggplant in Bahasa Indonesia.
We normally would have spicy eggplant as a side dish to go with grilled chicken or fried tempeh or fried fish. If I want to make it as a main dish, I’d add shrimp to the spicy eggplant.
Serve over white jasmine rice. Most Indonesian cuisines are served with white rice, as the main source of carbohydrate (and also), to neutralize the bold flavors.
Here’s how I prepare the dish:
Chop and mix the following items to make the sauce in a food processor:
- 7-10 Long red peppers, like cayenne.
- If the long red peppers are not available, don’t give up. Substitute with 2 red bell peppers
- 5-7 Thai peppers
- 4-5 Shallots
- 3-4 Cloves of garlic
- A Pinch of salt
- Cut up one big eggplant OR two skinny eggplants into cubes, place on a plate, and cook to soften for 3 minutes in a microwave oven. (Or put them on a grill with a little bit of oil to avoid sticking for about 2 minutes on each side. You could also broil the cut eggplants for about 3-4 minutes until they turn brownish.) Eggplant absorbs a lot of oil and water. The softening technique helps to expedite cooking time and to avoid using too much oil.
- Heat up one tablespoon of vegetable or canola oil in a deep frying pan (medium heat)
- Add the sauce to the pan carefully and let it sizzle for a minute as it lets its moisture out
- Add the cut up eggplant (and shrimp too if you want) into the sizzling pan and mix evenly with the sauce
- Cover the pan with a lid for 15-20 minutes and reduce the heat just a little bit
The dish is ready when the eggplant is soft and the balado sauce has lost most of its moisture.
Disclaimer: I like this dish to be VERY spicy. Please adjust the number of hot peppers according to your spicy-tolerance level.