Thai Coconut Eggplant with Soft Eggs and Mint

Ok so this is probably our families favourite dish. Like if we had to pick a last meal, this would be it. But as I am blogging this, and looking at the photos I took, I really dont think I am doing this dish justice.

From these photos, I do not see the best thing I have ever eaten. I see something that, quite frankly, doesn’t look very special at all.

So while without the facilities of a Gourmet Traveller magazine food styling staff of probably hundreds, I am actually not sure just how much better I can make some crumbed fried eggplant, some brown sauce and soft boiled eggs look however, I am starting to get excited at the thought of making this dish again very soon and trying to improve.

So, what I would like for you to do in the meantime is, make this dish, immediately, regardless of my amateur photography. You do not have to live this life for one more second not having tried the most delicious eggplant known to this world.

Now that you have decided to have this for dinner tonight, and hopefully many more nights to come, I have to say that I cant claim this amazing creation as my own. No, unfortunately this isn’t one from the old noggin, this a perfectly crafted recipe from the geniuses at Spirit House Restaurant at the Sunshine Coast. I also strongly recommend that you eat there!

Serve 4 as a side
From Spirit House Hot Plate Cookbook

1 cup panko crumbs
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1 large eggplant sliced into 1cm disks
1/3 cup rice flour
400mls coconut cream
4 soft boiled eggs
2 green shallots finely sliced
1/2 cup picked mint leaves
1 tbs crispy fried shallots

2 garlic cloves
2 hot dried chilli, rehydrated and deseeded
1 tbs grated ginger
1/4 cup black vinegar
2 tbs oyster sauce
2 tbs soy sauce
2 tbs white sugar

To make the dressing pound the garlic, chillies and ginger into a paste. Add to a fry pan with a little oil and sweat off a bit. Add all liquids and bring to a simmer, add sugar and dissolve. Cook for a further minute and then allow to cool and go syrupy.

To prepare the eggplant, I like to salt them and draw their bitterness out. To do this place your eggplant in one layer on some paper towel, sprinkle with salt, leave to sit for 5 minutes, the bitter liquid should start to draw out, now you can turn them and do the same on the other side. Once the liquid pulls from the other side, place another layer of paper towel on top. Pat dry. If there is any salt granules remain just shake them off.

Mix coconut and panko crumbs together on a deep plate. Place the rice flour in a plastic bag and the coconut cream in a bowl. Take the eggplant slices and put them in the bag of rice flour, shake around until well coated. Then dip in coconut cream and then the coconut crumb ensuring a nice even coating. Place on a tray lined with grease proof paper, press down on them slightly so the crumb goes flat and it doesn’t fall off during frying. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Heat a large saucepan with about 1/2 cm depth of oil on medium heat. Shallow fry for about 1 minute on each side or until golden brown and crispy. Drain on paper towel.

To serve, arrange eggplant on a platter, cut eggs into quarters and arrange on top. Sprinkle with green shallots, drizzle with dressing and finish with fried shallots and mint leaves.

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