Boiled Aubergine With Crispy Garlic, Dried Shrimp Served On Beansprouts

I don’t know what happened lately that caused my home to be like pigeon nest. That’s what my sister said to me LOL. I guessed what she meant was there’s non-stop of guests at my home just like pigeons to their nests… hmmm… I don’t know where she got that phrase from. Anyway, this situation tells me it’s time to move to bigger space!

So, tomorrow’s going to be noisy and busy day but for tonight’s dinner, I have left over of japanese aubergine (again… :-P). I bought a lot because the price was very cheap plus it’s organic! Yesterday, I bought some juicy and crunchy beansprouts and some silken tofu (not sure what to do with the tofu yet.) Already, I baked and grilled the gorgeous small japanese aubergine aka Nasu. There’s 1 method I didn’t use for quite sometime – boiling. It’s one of my mom’s favourite ways dealing with aubergine besides charcoal roasting on top of her faithful portable terracotta stove with a small square opening at the base (I love making ‘firework’ with that stove LOL.)
With what I have from the fridge and short of time for dinner, this was what I came up with for quick yet light meal.

Boiled Aubergine With Crispy Garlic, Dried Shrimp Served On Beansprouts
2-4 nos Japanese Aubergines (Nasu)
5 cloves Garlic
10 g Dried Shrimps
100 g Beansprouts
1 nos Red Capsicum (Bell Pepper) or 1 Red Chilli
1 stalk Spring Onion
Some Shoyu or Light Soy Sauce
Some Oil
Method:
1. Washed the vegetables and toss them dry. Cut the aubergines into halves at last minute before boiling them. Slice the spring onions. Set aside.
2. Soak the dried shrimps to remove some saltiness for 1-2 minutes. Drain and pat dry with kitchen paper and set aside.
3. Minced the garlic finely and chop the capsicum into 
4. In a small pan, pour in 1/4 cup of oil and when it’s hot add in the dried shrimps. Fry until fragrant and crispy. Remove and drain the excess oil with kitchen paper. Set aside.
5. In a pot, boiled some water with some salt. When it boils, add the beansprouts. Blanch the beansprouts for few seconds. Remove quickly and arrange on a serving dish/plate.
6. With same water, add in the aubergine halves and boil them until soften. Remove from pot and drain. Arrange aubergine halve on top of beansprouts.
7. Sprinkle the chopped capsicum and the fried dried shrimps on the boiled vegetables.
8. Now, this maybe a bit tricky… because you need to do fast before your garlic burnt.
In the pan that you fried the dried shrimp, add extra cooking oil; another 1/4 cup or  just enough for the boiled vegetables. When oil is hot again, add in the minced garlic. Fry the garlic until fragrant and crispy but not burnt.
Remove the pan from heat and with the garlic crisps still frying in the oil, pour all the contents all over the boiled vegetable. Yep, the vegetables will sizzles, don’t worry 😀 
9. Sprinkle sliced spring onions and drizzle generous amount of light soy sauce. Sniff and enjoy with hot rice or or a bowl of noodles.
Note: If  you can’t find dried shrimps, you can substitute it with minced fried salted fish of your choice eg. bacalhau, dried whitebait (shirasu), dried anchovy…

This dish may sound difficult at first but once you got your own method to fry quickly and pouring the garlic oil over the vegetables, is easy and fast to make. To eat it just stir or mix the ingredients. You will notice that it’s not oily at all. I love the gravy with plain white rice. 🙂
Enjoy!

Grilled Nasu With Smoked Bacon And Feta

White, Green, Purple, Indigo, Oval, Long… related to plant family of Nightshades of tomatoes, capsicums, potatoes and tobacco. Yet we still alive!!! We loved them so much (ok, not the tobacco part and look what it did to humans!) that we included them into our daily consumption and national dishes. Strange isn’t it? What leads to this meal was while ‘cruising’ my favourite foodie blogger – Ivy of Kopiaste‘s online kitchen few days ago, she cooked this simple yet lip smacking Melitzanes Giahni!!! Smacked my head, rushed down to my fridge and wheewww… they are still in eatable condition! Thank you to Ivy for reminding me… LOL  

Right… I’m referring to Aubergine aka Eggplant. One of my favourite is Nasu (Japanese Eggplant), a small, thinner skin, fast cooking, sweeter and it’s purple, one of my favourite colour! Nasu can be fried, grilled, steamed, simmered, pickle and lovely in curries. If you’re health conscious, beware that aubergines absorb oil quickly and use lots of oil when frying them. Also, it’s important to soak cut pieces in salted water to avoid discolouration and some cooks claimed that salt removes the bitterness of aubergine. 
I’m not sure of the latter solution though… because I seldom salted them unless I was distracted and need to leave my kitchen for some time. I would cut the aubergine the last and dumped the pieces straight into the pan after frying the basic ingredients. Furthermore, I love bitter vegetables – one of my favourite is the Bittergourd (Mormodica Charantia) and you can learn of its usage not only as food but as preventive cure as well. 
It’s a simple and light dish and I need to use up what’s left over before my next shopping. I have this idea in my mind for sometime to use the 2 packs of Dodoni Feta cheeses. I love feta cheese… I bought 1 kg of feta from a cheese shop in front of Athens’ Agora @ Athinas Street (Athens Central Market) to Belgium tucked nicely inside my luggage during my last trip 😛 I love the way the Greeks kept their feta in large barrels and cut them up in slabs for sale. For me, Feta must be PDO (kind of AOC) from Greece.I think Ivy would agreed with me on that!
Grilled Nasu With Smoked Bacon and Feta
2 pcs medium size Japanese Eggplants (Nasu)
4 slices Smoked Bacon
100 g – 150 g Feta (more if you like)
Few sprigs of Italian flat Parsley
Good amount of Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
1. Heat oven to 200ºC.
2. Chopped the parsley finely – set aside.
3. Crumble or cubed the feta cheese in a bowl.
4. Wash the aubergines and cut them into halves lengthwise. Place them in a deep dish.
5. Add Salt, generous amount of Olive oil and fresh grinded pepper to taste.
6. Grilled at 200ºC at middle rack for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven.
7. Roll the smoked bacon around the grilled aubergine. ( I use a spoon to turn the aubergineand chopsticks to fold the smoked bacon around but you can use your own method to do so).
8. Spread the crumbled feta and parsley on top; using the top heat, continue to grill for 10 minutes or until bacon is crispy and feta nicely browns. Serve with extra Olive oil by the side or salad.
Note: I didn’t rolled the smoked bacon with the aubergine for 1 st grilling and added the feta only at last minutes of grilling to avoid overcooking the Japanese eggplants and the feta browns too quickly. I prefer that way… 🙂