My mum, on the other hand, has always been the over-friendly auntie who strikes up a conversation with everyone from the fishmonger to the coffee shop lady. She gets huge bunches of coriander and spring onions for free from the vegetable seller, and mind you, she goes to the market almost every day. She gets extra rendang gravy to takeaway when she eats at the Malay nasi padang stall - read: instant homemade curries. Same for the satay uncle- extra satay peanut sauce.
If you aren't on friendly terms with any satay man, time to start saying hello, or you can of course make your own satay peanut sauce.
Soy Sauce Grilled Eggplant with Satay Peanut Sauce
serves 1 (easily doubled/tripled)
1 large-ish Asian baby eggplant (or a small normal eggplant, note skins will be tougher)
1 tbsp traditionally fermented soy sauce (I use tamari, wheat-free, more intense)
1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine (or sherry)
1 tsp unrefined toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp melted coconut oil (or evoo or groundnut oil.)
satay peanut sauce (simmered till dry/thickened, optional)
small handful of cilantro leaves, chopped
You can also try this grilled instead if you have one.
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius.
2. Slice the eggplant lengthwise into halves, score around the edge and make a criss-cross pattern on the surface. This allows the heat and marinade to penetrate more evenly, plus it looks prettier. Some people like to salt the eggplant first to get rid of bitterness/water but I don't find it a problem, at least with these small eggplants.
3. Mix rest of the ingredients and spread/rub over the eggplant evenly.
4. Bake for 40 min, or until really tender. Top generously with satay peanut sauce and cilantro.
The slow-roasted flesh of the eggplant is deliciously soft and savoury from absorbing the marinade, and goes wonderfully texture-wise and taste-wise with the slightly sweet, aromatic peanut dressing. Of course, I may be biased because the Singapore satay peanut sauce is my favourite dip/sauce for most things grilled/roasted, or even stir-fries.. It's not just peanut sauce, it's freshly ground roasted peanuts simmered with tamarind and spices, homemade (or satay-man made) with love ♡