Burma (Myanmar) - Khayan Thee Hnut
Burmese eggplant curry was REALLY flavorful and I was immensely surprised at how much I REALLY liked this.
Did you know that not all curry is created equal? For a long time I thought curry dishes were those soupy dishes full of spices like garam masala, turmeric, curry powder etc that would be served in a bowl. Little did I know, until I watched an episode of HiHo Kids on YouTube that curries can actually be more than that!
I also knew making this dish would be a risk because Justin is not a fan of eggplant, the vegetable... but he was surprised by the taste and actually liked the flavors, just not so much the skin of the eggplants. Understandable. I loved it. I thought the flavors were unique and really tasty. The fish sauce and shrimp really helped elevate this to a really great dish. Without the shrimp and fish sauce though, I’m sure it would still taste great, and it would be vegetarian then!
The method to make this had me a little uneasy because I figured it would cause burned on food in my pan. Yup it sure did. Basically, you let it simmer, covered until you start to hear a sizzle noise. Pretty cool!
4 small eggplants (or 2 large)
Salt (to taste)
3-4 shallots (finely chopped)
3 tomatoes (diced)
3-4 garlic cloves (chopped)
1 generous tbsp roasted peanuts (crushed)
1 tbsp fish sauce (sub soy sauce for vegetarian)
1 tbsp brown sugar
Turmeric powder (dash)
Chili powder (dash)
1 tbsp dried shrimp (or 3 raw shrimp finely chopped)
2 tbsp oil
1 cup water
As always, make sure you wash and dry your vegetables. The original instructions say to slice down the center while leaving the top section intact, but because I used two large eggplants, I just cut them into slices, about 3 inches long. Sprinkle with salt and let sit for about 15 minutes. Then pat the eggplant dry with paper towels.
After prepping the rest of the ingredients, in a small mixing bowl, add the shallots, tomatoes, garlic, peanuts, fish sauce, sugar, and spices. Give it a good mix. If you’re using dried shrimp, I’d recommend soaking it for 5 minutes, then draining before usage. I used finely chopped raw shrimp. If you want to make this vegetarian, just leave out the shrimp.
When ready, heat a pot over medium-high heat. Place half the eggplant in a pot, layer half of the mixing bowl mixture on top. Then repeat with the rest of the eggplant and tomato mixture. Drizzle the contents with the oil and pour the 1 cup of water over that. Cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Do NOT remove the lid to the pot. This is part of the fun. You will simmer for roughly 30 minutes. When you start to hear the inside of the pot sizzle, then it’s done!
Remove the lid and give it a one final stir. Serve on top of rice and garnish with cilantro and crushed peanuts if desired.
Recipe adapted from Wandercooks.