Every year for our birthday, we would either go out for a meal or have a simple home-cooked meal at home. For the few years that we’ve been married, hubs has been taking me out for special dinners. For my first birthday after we got married, we went to our favourite Thai restaurant for great curry. For the second year, we had Spanish food. And then last year, we decided to explore a new restaurant that we read about in a magazine.
This place is called Simply Mel’s. It focuses on Kristang food, which is Malaccan Portuguese Cuisine. Malacca is a state in Malaysia. When the Portuguese came over back in the 16th century, their influence on Malaccan culture changed things forever. I guess fusion food existed way before the term “fusion food” was even coined. You can read more about the Kristang culture here.
Anyway, our favourite curry there is called keluak curry. It’s something else, I tell you. Extremely spicy but the flavour of that earthy pungent keluak is quite interesting. It’s definitely an acquired taste, much like durians, though in a very different way. Besides that, they are also famous for their devilled curry. I’ve made devilled curry before from scratch and I’ll probably share it here some day.
But today, I’m sharing with you a dish that we first had at Simple Mel’s and which I’ve replicated at home dozens of times, putting on my own spin to it. Soy Limang Terung.
Eggplant. Aubergine. Brinjal. Whatever you call it, you’ll know that if it isn’t properly prepared, it kinda bites on your tongue. Personally, I’ve never really cared for brinjal. I mean, I don’t hate it but I don’t love it either! We have them in curries and such but in a dish that stars brinjal, I’d usually be “Meh.” However, when we had it at this restaurant, that was the first time I’d ever enjoyed a brinjal dish! It’s so simple and easy to prepare but yet so delicious. I figured I should share this with you good people here.
Enough of talk for now. To start making this dish, I used:
With the anchovies removed, good amount of minced garlic went in. We loooooove fried garlic. They get from nicely golden to burnt really fast to pay attention.
Hubs kept snacking on the anchovies when I was cooking. Haha…
I know this part is unconventional but I don’t like undercooked brinjal. At all. So to ensure the flesh is sufficiently cooked but not mushy, I always add 3-4 tbsp of water and cover the pan to let it steam a little until all the water is evaporated. The downside is that the vibrant purple turns brown. But hey, we’re all about substance right?
As the brinjals steamed, I mixed up the ingredients for the soy part of this recipe. I actually made twice as much as we needed because hubs absolutely loves it on everything and anything. I think he can even have rice plain with this alone. Once the brinjal was done, this sauce mixture with a little bit of water went in just too simmer and thicken slightly.
Thanks auntie Melba for the inspiration!
Beng Naki Kumi! (Come And Eat!)
“But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all His prophets, that Christ should suffer, He hath so fulfilled.” (Acts 3:18)
Soy Limang Terung
inspired by Simply Mel’s
1 Oval Brinjal, quartered length-wise and sliced into 2 inch pieces
1/4 cups, or less, dried Anchovies
4 cloves Garlic, minced
1 tbsp Brown Sugar
1 tbsp Oyster Sauce
1 tbsp Soy Sauce
1 tbsp Kecap Manis
dash of freshly ground Black Pepper
6 tbsp water, divided
spring onion, chopped for topping
5 tbsp vegetable oil
- Heat up oil on MEDIUM HIGH heat. Fry anchovies until crisp and golden. Remove and set aside.
- In the same oil, brown minced garlic. Be careful not to burn. Remove and set aside.
- Place in brinjal pieces, flesh side down and leave to sear for a minute.
- Add 4 tbsp water and cover pan to allow brinjal to steam, usually takes about 2 minutes.
- Meanwhile, mix together remaining 2 tbsp water with the brown sugar, oyster sauce, soy sauce, kecap manis & pepper.
- Once all the water from has evaporated and brinjal pieces are tender but not mushy, plate them.
- Pour the sauce mixture into the pan and let it simmer for 1/2 – 1 minute until it thickens slightly. The sauce is meant to be on the saltier side as the brinjal is tasteless.
- Drizzle over about 2 tbsp sauce over the brinjal. Scatter on reserved anchovies, garlic and spring onions.
*Extra sauce and topping can either be kept for future use (good over steamed chicken, vegetables or even just plain rice) or served alongside the dish in case someone wants extra. Someone always wants extra.