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Burmese Roasted Eggplant Salad

Burmese Roasted Eggplant Salad (khayan dhi pope thote)

serves: 2
takes: 25 mins

This delightful Burmese salad is a complex combination of exciting flavours and textures. The fragrantce of the crispy garlic and fresh cilantro highlight the lovely flavour and texture of smokey roasted eggplants.
I love the crunch of the chopped peanuts and sesame seeds that accent the creaminess of the eggplant. This salad is lightly dressed with garlic oil, fish sauce and lime juice.
3 Asian long eggplants
1 large shallot, thinly sliced, placed in cold water
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame seed oil
1-2 minced Thai chiles to your taste

1 1/2 teaspoon dried shrimp, pounded *
1 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
1 1/2 teaspoon roasted peanuts, chopped
small handful of fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
1/2 fresh lime, juiced
1 teaspoon sugar (date palm if available)
2-4 teaspoons fish sauce to your taste
*if available use smoked dry shrimp

You can either grill the eggplants on a barbecue which is my preference for added smokiness flavour, or roast on a flat sheet in the oven. I use tin foil under the eggplants for easier cleanup.
Be sure and prick the eggplants with a knife to prevent them from bursting during cooking.

Place under a hot grill or on a hot barbecue for 10-20 minutes turning them occasionally. Be sure to let the skin colour and char. While the eggplants are grilling, make the crispy garlic and oil. Heat the oil in a small saucepan and fry the garlic until golden and aromatic. Remove with a slotted spoon and cool. Place drained and patted dry shallots in a bowl.

When the eggplants are ready, cool a little until they can be handled. Peel the outer charred skin revealing the luscious soft eggplant meat inside. Place the flesh in a medium sized glass bowl.
Mix in 1 tablespoon of the frying oil and the garnishes. Taste and adjust the seasoning so there is a balance of salty, hot, sweet and sour.

Serve while the salad is still a little warm.

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