Thai Eggplant Dip is spicy gooey delicious dip loaded with fresh herbs and chilies. This dish is prominently cooked in Laos and northeast region of Thailand. It is served with sticky rice and fresh or steamed vegetable. It is one of the first dishes I learned to make when I was a kid. I remember how my dad used to add some eggplants in the bottom part of the sticky rice steamer. And by the time the rice was cooked, the eggplants would be almost falling apart. Traditionally, Thai Eggplant Dip is made in mortar with a pestle to mash and mix all the ingredients together.
The key of cooking Thai Eggplant Dip is to use freshest ingredients you can find and to be generous with the seasoning. Be bold and confident about using chilies and fish sauce. I love to think that chili, lime and fish sauce is like a Three Musketeers of Thai Cuisine. Once these 3 ingredients combined, your senses are heightened as the flavor in the dish incorporated.
Thai Eggplant Dip
250 gm Eggplants (Apple Eggplant is preferred, but this is what I can find here in India)
5 cloves of garlic (small cloves)
4 Thai Shallots
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp sugar
1 ½ tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint leaves
4 fresh or dried red chilies (use as per your spice intolerant)
Remove the stems, wash and clean the eggplants.
Boil Eggplants for 20 minutes or until they are soft.
In a dry pan, roast shallots, garlic and chilies for 5-7 minutes. If the chilies started to become dark in color, remove them from the pan. Continue roasting shallots and garlic until they are slightly charred and aromatic.
Quarter the tomato and roast it on the pan until smoky and soft.
In a mortar (here I use a steel bowl), add chilies, garlic and shallots and pound them with a pestle to release the flavor.
The chilies, garlic and shallots should break apart easily.
Add pan-roasted tomato.
Pound until the tomato is broken into small pieces.
Now add the cooked eggplants. Pound and mix them into other ingredients.
Add sugar, lime and fish sauce.
Pound and mix further until all ingredients are mixed. The texture of the dip should be smooth yet having pieces of ingredients mixed together.
Add coriander and mint.
Mix well, check the seasoning and served with rice or vegetable.