“This dish comes from the Hmong, a minority group who live in the northern hills straddling Cambodia and Vietnam. Their food is austere and spicy,” says Lindsay. This dish works equally well as a side for the pork belly recipe.
- 8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 2 large eggplant (about 500gm each)
- 4 red birdseye chillies, coarsely chopped
- 4 spring onion bulbs, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup (loosely packed) coriander, coarsely chopped, plus extra leaves to serve
- 4-5 pieces black sesame rice paper (see note)
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1Heat vegetable oil to 160C in a wok or saucepan over medium-high heat, add garlic and stir frequently until golden (1-3 minutes), remove garlic and drain on absorbent paper.
- 2Cook eggplants, weighted with a plate, in 2 large saucepans of boiling water over high heat until tender (15-20 minutes). Remove eggplant, then, when cool enough to handle, peel, then drain in a colander (discard skin and water).
- 3Pound chilli and ¾ tsp sea salt in a mortar and pestle, add spring onion and coriander and pound to a coarse paste. Add eggplant and crush it into the paste with a circular motion (you can do this in batches; alternatively, you can use a food processor), then season to taste. Makes 2½ cups.
- 4Heat vegetable oil in a deep-fryer to 180C and deep-fry rice paper in batches until puffed and crisp (1-2 minutes; be careful as hot oil will spit). Drain well on absorbent paper and serve with Hmong spicy eggplant mash drizzled with sesame oil and scattered with fried garlic and coriander leaves.
Black sesame rice paper is available from Vietnamese grocers. If unavailable, substitute plain dried rice paper or prawn crackers.
This recipe is from the September 2011 issue of
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