These crafty brinjal dishes will make even the most fussy mother-in-law’s jaws drop.

FRIED BRINJAL WITH SALTED EGG YOLK

2 long purple brinjals
2 salted duck egg yolks
2 stalks curry leaves
3 dried chillies, cut into sections
3 bird’s eye chillies, diced

Batter (combined)
100g cornflour
2 tbsp rice flour
1 tsp oil
Adequate water

Seasoning
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar or to taste
1/4 tsp pepper

Steam salted egg yolks till cooked. Remove and mash at once.

Cut brinjals into thin slices and dip in batter. Deep-fry in hot oil until golden brown. Dish out and drain on paper towels.

Leave 1 tablespoon oil in the wok. Add in mashed salted egg yolks and stir-fry until mixture turns bubbly. Add in curry leaves, dried chillies and bird’s eye chillies. Stir-fry well.

Add in the prefried brinjal pieces and add in seasoning. Toss and fry briefly to combine. Dish out to serve at once.


Stir-fried brinjal with spicy bean paste

STIR-FRIED BRINJAL WITH SPICY SOY BEAN PASTE

2 long purple brinjals
1 piece beancurd
cornflour for coating
oil for deep-frying
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp oil
30g minced meat
50g shelled prawns, diced
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp minced shallot
1 stalk curry leaves
30g cubed red capsicum
150ml chicken stock or water

Seasoning
1 tbsp spicy fermented soy bean paste
1/2 tsp chicken stock powder
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp pepper

Thickening
1 tsp cornflour
1 tbsp water

Garnishing
coriander leaves, chopped

Cut the brinjals into wedges and beancurd into cubes.

Coat beancurd with the cornflour and deep-fry in hot oil until lightly golden.

Heat 1 teaspoon sesame oil and 1 teaspoon oil in a wok. Fry the minced meat and prawns until the mixture changes colour. Add garlic, shallot and curry leaves, and stir-fry briskly.

Add spicy bean paste and fry until fragrant.

Add brinjal, beancurd, red capsicum and the rest of the seasoning ingredients. Pour in chicken stock or water. Cover the wok with lid and allow to simmer briefly for 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the cornflour thickening solution and bring to boil. Turn off heat, dish out, garnish and serve.


Steamed brinjal with fragrant sauce

STEAMED BRINJAL WITH FRAGRANT SAUCE

2 long purple brinjals
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tbsp chopped shallots
1 tbsp chopped dried prawns
20g diced carrot
2 tbsp diced five-spice beancurd
2 tbsp diced white button mushrooms
1 dried Chinese mushroom, soaked and diced
2 bird’s eye chillies, chopped
1 tbsp store-bought sambal paste
100ml water

Seasoning
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp chicken stock powder

To prepare brinjals

Split the washed brinjal into quarters lengthwise without cutting all the way through so it is still attached at the stalk end. Place brinjals on a stainless steel steaming plate.

Steam brinjals in a steamer over rapid boiling water for 10 to 12 minutes or until brinjals are soft. Remove from steamer and place on a serving plate. Use a fork to lightly scrape the flesh of the brinjals.

To prepare sauce

In a wok or frying pan, heat the oil and sauté the garlic, shallots and dried prawns until aromatic. Add in the rest of the ingredients – except chillies, sambal and water – and stir-fry until fragrant.

Add the sambal paste and bird’s eye chillies. Keep stir-frying until fragrant.

Add the seasoning ingredients and water. Bring to a boil and adjust seasoning to taste. Turn off heat.

To serve

Pour the sauce over the brinjals and serve.