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Japanese Eggplant with Peanut Sauce

I’m that person! The eggplant lover. I also love a satay sauce. This sauce is a perfect balance of sweet, salt, heat, tartness, and nuttiness. This eggplant dish is a wonderful choice if you are trending flexitarian. Try the sauce with skewers of grilled vegetables, shrimp, or chicken. Heck, put it on just about anything that needs a little livening up.


MAKES 4 SERVINGS




What you need


1/2 cup unsalted peanuts (no skin)

1 tablespoon chopped lemongrass

1 tablespoon finely chopped galangal

2 garlic cloves

1 small shallot, peeled

1 tablespoon lime juice

Zest of 1 lime

1 tablespoon light brown sugar

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1⁄3 cup water

8 small Japanese eggplants, halved lengthwise

5 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided 

1 teaspoon chili flakes


How to make it


Reserve a few peanuts, to make about a tablespoon of crushed peanuts for the garnish.


Place the remaining peanuts, along with the lemongrass, galangal, garlic, shallots, lime juice and zest, brown sugar, fish sauce, turmeric, salt, and water in a food processor, and pulse to make a coarse paste. Transfer the sauce to a small pot and warm over low heat for 10 minutes.


Score the eggplants by cutting shallow crosshatching across the flesh. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Place the eggplants on the pan.


Drizzle 3 tablespoons of the oil evenly over the eggplant.


Place the pan in the oven and roast for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.


Heat a small skillet over medium heat with the remaining 2 table- spoons of oil.

Add the chili flakes to the oil and let them bloom for 30 seconds.


Pour the tempered chili oil over the eggplants and serve warm, along with the peanut sauce. 

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