I used to order food from an Indonesian caterer back when I was studying in uni/college. I vividly recall this dish of soggy battered eggplants doused in a black soy sauce with chillies and onions. It didn't look very appealing at all, and heating it up in the microwave didn't do much justice to the already well-soaked eggplants. However, after eating it almost every week for dinner, I grew to like it and started looking forward to it each time, along with sayur assam and other home-cooked Indonesian dishes.
So I attempted to replicate this dish based on memory, and it's a pretty simple dish. The difficult part, perhaps, is in the deep-frying, or should I say, washing up after the deep-frying. But it is still one of my favourite eggplant dishes, and I absolutely love eggplant, as long as they are cooked properly, and not spongey.
Here is the recipe for the fritters and the sauce. If you plan on eating it straight away, then pour the sauce over the fritters. Otherwise, you can serve the sauce separately for dipping. The fritters are also delicious eaten on their own, or dipped in chilli sauce.
Eggplant Fritters with Chilli and Sweet Soy
1 large eggplant (about 500g), cut into 1cm slices
1 cup self-raising flour
3 tbsp rice flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup water (approx)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 onion, sliced
2 red chillies, sliced
1/3 cup ABC kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soy)
1/3 cup water
Salt to taste
Arrange the slices of eggplant on a large tray lined with absorbent kitchen paper. Sprinkle salt over the eggplant and cover with more kitchen paper or cloth that will absorb the moisture from the eggplants. Leave for 30 minutes and wipe off excess salt and moisture.
Combine dry ingredients for the batter in a bowl. Slowly add water and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the oil. The batter should not be too watery that it can't coat the eggplant properly.
Heat up sufficient oil for deep-frying in a large wok/pan. Dry off excess moisture from the eggplant. Coat the eggplant in batter and lower it into the hot oil. Fry on medium heat until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Drain on kitchen paper.
To prepare the sauce, heat up 1-2 tbsp oil in a pan and fry garlic and onions until the onions soften, then add chillies. Pour in the soy and water, bring to a boil and simmer briefly until sauce is slightly reduced. Season with a pinch of salt. Serve with eggplant fritters and steamed white rice.
|Deep fried eggplant in crispy batter|