I have begun baking a lot of veggies. It is quick, easy and the results are simply delicious. I have tried this with a variety of eggplants but the long Japanese ones seem to turn out the best. You can vary the amount of sambal olek (found at your local farmers market or Asian store). Its a spicy Indonesian cooking paste that is simply divine. The brown sugar adds a subtle sweetness to the dish. I added the bread crumbs just to add a little bit of crunch as the eggplant becomes really soft. Using Panko bread crumbs gives you a much better result than regular finely shredded crumbs.
You can serve these as appetizers or as part of a main course. Pair it on top of rice, couscous, quinoa or alongside other veggies. You can also bake other veggies in the same tray along with this (chunk of red onions – tossed in olive oil, green beans …. ). Let your imagination run wild – or as it happens with me – what do I have to use from my refrigerator :-).
Total time : prep – 10 minutes, cook 25 minutes
- 2 long purple eggplants
- 2 tablespoons sambal olek sauce
- 4 teaspoons brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 4 tablespoons oil
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 350F . Line a baking tray lined with aluminum foil.
Mix together the sambal, brown sugar, lemon juice, minced garlic and 3 tablespoons of the olive oil for the sauce.
Wash and dry the eggplants. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise. Score the eggplant across at an angle and then score it the other way (you are attempting to get the sauce into the eggplant when it bakes). Generously coat the cut and scored side of the eggplant with the sauce. Place the eggplant flesh side up on the lined baking tray.
Moisten the Panko bread crumbs with the remaining olive oil. Use more if the crumbs are not all evenly moistened. Pat the bread crumbs on to the top of each of the eggplants.
Bake for 25 minutes until the eggplant is cooked through and the crust has formed.
Optional : You can also top with shredded cheese. Do this about 5 minutes before you are going to remove it from the oven.