Ensaladang Talong (Filipino Eggplant Salsa) is always good as a side dish for grilled or fried fish/meat dishes. This Filipino side dish recipe varies, as you know Philippines is made up of different regions, all this regions have different take on ingredients. In Laguna, my relatives make this with soy sauce or vinegar with a squeeze of calamansi and the eggplants are grilled over charcoal. In Navotas, this side dish is mixed with fish sauce and eggplants can be either boiled or grilled. What ever the sauce, the main components must be there, shredded eggplant flesh, tomatoes and onions to be called Ensaladang Talong.
I grill my Lebanese eggplants over hot charcoals or under the stove grill. Cooking this way gives you that smoky taste that boiling method is lacking. Maybe I’m picky but I only use Lebanese eggplants (skinny variety) than the voluptuous eggplants (big round ones). The big round variety gives me that itchy tongue feeling most of the time (is it just me?), I really find it weird.
Hehehehehe, I remember a funny eggplant incident I did in TAFE, one of the chef told me to layer slices of the voluptuous eggplants and in between, spread some salt, so that it will extract the bitterness out off the eggplant slices. Growing up, nobody told me to salt slices of eggplants before, so what I did was applied layer of salt in between the slices, it looked like a Zen garden without the pebbles. I proudly showed it to my teacher, who was gobsmacked (maybe I’m the only one who did that!), he explained to me that you just sprinkle some salt over the top of the eggplant slices, not bury them in salt…he told me to rinse them well with cold water, in the end…it was still edible, lucky for me! And yes, I was the main topic in their staff room that day=)
ENSALADANG TALONG (Filipino Eggplant Salsa)
5 medium Lebanese eggplants
1 large tomato
1/2 medium red or white onion
4 tspn fish sauce
1 tspn calamansi or lemon juice
*used U.S Measuring Cups & Spoons
~ Rinse the eggplants in cold water and with a fork or small knife, make small pricks around the eggplants.
~ Grill the eggplants till the skin are slightly singed and blistered in medium-high heat. Turn the eggplants occasionally for even cooking. Do not cook in high heat as it will just quickly burns the skin and you will end up with raw eggplant flesh inside.
~ Let it cool till you can handle them with your bare hands. Remove skin and detach the flesh from the stem part and roughly tear the flesh into chunky shreds. If any flesh is still clinging to the skins, scrape with a spoon and include with the rest of the eggplant.
~ Wash the tomato and slightly deseed it when you cut it in half. Chop them up into medium cubes, do the same with the onion.
~ Place all the ingredients in a medium bowl and stir it lightly till all the ingredients are evenly distributed. Serve this dish freshly prepared.
- You can use either bagoong, fish sauce (patis), soy sauce or vinegar. Bird’s eye chilli and calamansi or lemon juice are optional additions.
- You can prep the eggplants the day before but do not mix this side dish well in advanced as the diced tomato becomes watery if stored too long.