I have a belief. I do believe that vegetables should be present at every meal. I believe this very strongly and may proceed to proselytise if provoked.
You can provoke me by trying to feed me a meal in which there are no vegetables. Repeatedly. If you don’t realise you’ve done this then you are probably a prime target.
Based on my recipe track record here (which is a pretty accurate indicator of what I eat), I’m clearly not one of those mega health freaks that thinks that you should drink wheatgrass smoothies every morning and go on raw vegetable purges and whatever. I completely admire their dedication, but, seriously, have you tried wheatgrass? It has “grass” in the name you know, for good reason. I don’t like the taste of grass (as I’ve mentioned before in reference to broccoli). Grass is for creatures that are 4-legged and go moo.
Also, I could never pretend to be that health conscious because I like to binge on sugary things. It would be too hypocritical of me. Blah blah, sugar loading, yes yes.
Well. I believe there should always be there because I like vegetables. I believe that a lot of people would feel loads better if they decided to eat one (just one!) portion of vegetables with their meals. That’s like, the size of your fist. Not much! Well, I don’t have a big fist. If you don’t eat any vegetables and you eat a portion the size of my fist, I’m sure that’d be good enough?
Also, don’t you feel a bit ill if you eat a meal with only meat and carbs? Like sleepy, and heavy, and a bit like this?
Okay you caught me, actually I just wanted to put a picture of Jabba the Hutt in a food related post. Wahahaha.
But, you know. Vegetables don’t have to party it up all the time. Sometimes they can be demure, supporting cast members to a more dramatic dish.
That’s what I thought this was going to be, up until I realised I was walking to the rice cooker to get extra rice so I could eat more eggplant and plain rice.
Anyway, I realise I’ve gone off on a bit of a tangent here, but my point was that I made this dish in all of about 15 minutes because there was no vegetable dish when I sat down at the dinner table today (It wasn’t my turn to cook). I thought it upstaged the chicken curry but perhaps I’m biased?
Note: it was curry from a packet. I don’t think anyone in my house knows how to make curry from scratch.
Grilled Eggplant with Vietnamese Dipping Sauce and Scallion / Cà tím nướng mỡ hành
Adapted from Cooking Practice, I lazied it up and subbed for things I didn’t have (spring onions again).
2 long skinny eggplants
3 spring onions – I didn’t have this, so I subbed for half a small red onion. Spring onions would probably be better but onion was nice too.
1 tablesp fish sauce
1 tablesp water
2/3 tablesp sugar
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 red chilli, chopped – I’ll probably increase this next time
A few drops of lemon juice – optional, or you could use white vinegar, or omit this altogether
- Chop the eggplants into sticks and soak in salty water for a bit. (This is the beginning of my cheating method, for the authentic Vietnamese method go back to Cooking Practice 🙂 )
- Prepare the sauce – chop up the garlic and chilli, and mix in the fish sauce, water, sugar, and lemon juice. Taste it and keep adding to it until you like the taste. Leave it to sit.
- Oil up your eggplant sticks and toast them in the oven on the grill setting. This is cheating, you’re supposed to char them over a flame but I didn’t feel like working so hard. For the instructions relating to charring over an open flame, head back over to Cooking Practice. It took my eggplants between 5-10 minutes in the oven to cook.
- In the meantime, chop up your spring onions. By the time you’re done, the eggplant should be done.
- Heat some oil (about 2 tablesp) in a pan until it smokes. Drop in the spring onions and stir a couple of times, then dump everything on the eggplant sticks. Which you’ve now nicely arranged on a plate, right?
- You can either keep the sauce aside as dipping sauce, or pour it all over the eggplant. I did the pour-over because…I didn’t want to have to explain to my dinner companions that it was dipping sauce as they were only coming home at 9.30pm.