Terasi (shrimp paste) is most popularly used in sambal terasi, but this ingredient is also incorporated in many Indonesian dishes, such as this simple terong saus terasi (eggplant with spicy shrimp paste sauce). While Indonesian call shrimp paste terasi, is known as belacan in Malaysia and Singapore, and you will more likely to encounter belacan during your grocery shopping in many Asian markets.
Terasi comes in a block that looks like a huge chocolate brick, and smells super pungent. Before we can use it, we have to toast it first, which makes the smell even stronger. First, cut a small cube (about 1″), then grab it with a tong, and shove it in open flame, meaning this only works for those with a gas stove. Another method is to toast in toaster oven, or just dry fry in a frying pan. Once toasted, it will look drier, with a bit of char is okay, and will most definitely smell ten times stronger. Therefore, be sure to crank up your exhaust fan, and open every single window in your house (or those near the kitchen at the very least).
This eggplant dish is really easy to make, and it pairs really well with the spicy and savory sauce. If you happen to love the sauce, you can also prepare fried tofu cubes, fried tempe, or hard boiled eggs with this sauce.
- 2 Chinese eggplants (about 750 gram total), washed and drained
- 4 tablespoon oil
- 5 kaffir lime leaves
- 2 tomatoes, diced
- ½ tablespoon salt
- 2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 cup water
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced (for garnish, optional)
- 15 dried red chilies (Indonesian: cabe merah kering), seeded and soaked in hot water to soften
- 75 gram shallot (Indonesian: bawang merah)
- 5 cloves garlic (Indonesian: bawang putih)
- 1 tablespoon shrimp paste (Indonesian: terasi; Malaysian/Singaporean: belacan), toasted
- Cut eggplant into two lengthwise, then cut each half into two again to get a total of 8 pieces of eggplant. Make cross slits on the eggplant surface.
- Heat oil in frying pan on medium high. When the oil is hot, fry eggplant until golden brown, set aside.
- Make sure there is about 2 tablespoon of oil left in the pan (add if needed). Sauté spice paste and kaffir lime leaves until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
- Add tomato, salt, sugar, and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until tomato is wilted.
- Return eggplants into the pan. Turn the heat up and cook until boiling. Reduce heat to a simmer again, and cook until the eggplant is fully cooked and the sauce is reduced.
- Turn the heat off. Transfer to serving plate and garnish with sliced scallions.