Hubby is one super guy. Every time just before he heads out for work-travel, he always makes a ginormous supermarket run. He hauls home everything that I hastily scribe to him in a text message and whatever else that looked good. As a food lover alike, usually a lot piques his interest. The fridge becomes so overly stuffed – shelves, drawers, and freezer – that when he’s gone, it’s a bit like delving into a treasure chest. I’m never sure of exactly what he purchased, yet I’m always pleasantly surprised (and pleasantly impressed) by the finds.
Today I spotted two organic eggplants neatly tucked away on the bottom shelf.
Eggplant can be a bit tricky. It can cook beautifully if carmelized just the right amount, i.e. not burnt. It also tends to slurp up everything around it, i.e. oil. Somewhat tired of my eggplant repertoire (i.e. too burnt and too oily), and a bit influenced by our last Chinese restaurant visit, the idea came to perhaps try a stuffed eggplant, dim-sum style. Stuffing it with shrimp also took care of the protein requirement for dinner.
Cooking the eggplant for this dish is two part – the first happens in the pan while the second finishes in a steamer. Most recipes call for mega amounts of oil for the former, but instead I chose to lean towards a longer steam to cook the eggplant, with a shorter, much less oily pan fry. Also, instead of a thick and heavy oyster sauce, I topped the eggplant with a light and simple soy dressing.
Dim-Sum-Style Shrimp Stuffed Eggplant (serves two)
- 2 medium sized eggplants (the narrower, the better)
- 10-12 large sized prawns, peeled and cleaned
- 4-5 tablespoons of olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sesame seed oil
- 2 teaspoons honey
Additionally, some type of steamer will be required – this might take some ingenuity. I used the steam tray that came with my rice cooker.
First, slice eggplant into thick 1 inch disks. Then, make a pocket in each disk by slicing parallel to the surface, about 3/4 of the way through.
To prepare the stuffing, chop shrimp into smaller, minced pieces. Place in bowl and season with salt and pepper, about 2 teaspoons of each. Mix until the shrimp begins to bind and become paste-like.
Next, fill each of the eggplant slices to the very edge with about 1 tablespoon of the shrimp mixture. (Giggle, giggle – the eggplants resembled Pac Mans… or perhaps fake teeth.)
Over medium-high temperature, heat oil in a large pan. Place the eggplant flat in the pan and cook until browned on the bottom, about 3-4 minutes. Turn over and brown the other side as well. Following, remove from pan, place into steamer over boiling water; steam for 20-25 minutes. If pan and/or steamer are not big enough, work in batches.
In the meantime, wisk together all ingredients for dressing.
When done, the eggplant should be fairly soft. Remove from steamer, dress, serve, eat. I added a dollop of Srirachi hot sauce for an extra zing. In hindsight, ground peanuts and chopped green scallions would have been great additions.
The stuffed eggplant ended up being beyond simple in terms of ingredients, prep and cook. Thanks, hubby, for the eggplant! A new dish awaits you upon return….