A smoked and spicy eggplant dipping sauce typical from Laos. It reminds Babaganoush, with fish sauce instead of tahini. In Laos, it is served with glutinous rice (sticky rice), pieces of dried meat or vegetables to dip in the sauce. In Laos, the duo Jeow Mak Keua and Sticky Rice are a favourite breakfast in the school lunchboxes.
Jeow Mak Keua, Lao eggplant dip
- 2 eggplant – (Japanese type) or 1 small conventional Eggplant
- 1 fresh red chilli – large
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup coriander – chopped
- 2 teaspoon fish sauce – can be substituted by soy sauce
- 1 stalk green onion – chopped
- Pierce eggplants and chilli a few times with a knife or a fork.
- Put eggplants, chilli, and garlic directly over a flame until the skin burns and darken. It can done on the flame of a stove. But, please! If possible, do it over charcoal, this way you will have a smoked, complex and special flavour. (Attention! Chilli and garlic burn very fast!).
- Remove it from the heat, and let it cool down. Cut the eggplant in half and remove the pulp, peel the garlic and chop the chilli.
- Put garlic, salt and pepper on the mortar, and start to smash it until you get a spicy salt.
- Add the eggplant pulp with the chopped coriander and smash it together with the seasoned salt until you get a creamy paste.
- To finalize add the fish sauce and green onions, mix and serve.
- Japanese eggplants are thinner than conventional ones, we prefer these;
- It is easy to handle garlic and chilli on the flame if you put them on a wood skewer. For the eggplant, you can use a barbecue tweezer.
- The fish sauce in Laos is called Padaek, it is a thick fermented sauce that might be difficult to find outside the country. However, you can substitute it for Thai fish sauce (Nam Pla) found in any Asian store or you can use soy sauce.
Make a trio of dips and serve as an appetizer with vegetable sticks, seaweed chips and root chips.