Au­bergine larb with sticky rice and shal­lot salad

The Guardian - Feast - - News -

You can speed up this recipe by jug­gling what you cook and when – for ex­am­ple, while the aubergines are bak­ing and the rice is cook­ing, start on the salad and dress­ing.

Heat the oven to 200C/390F/gas 6. Cover the rice with cold wa­ter and leave to soak for 30 min­utes.

In the mean­time, cut the aubergines in half length­ways and score a criss-cross pat­tern on the cut sides. Brush all over with oil and put cut side up on two bak­ing sheets. Bake for 20 min­utes, brush the cut side with more oil and bake for an­other 20-25 min­utes, un­til creamy in­side.

Mean­while, make the rice and the salad. Drain the rice, put it in a pot, cover with 520ml wa­ter and add half a tea­spoon of salt. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to its low­est set­ting and sim­mer for 15 min­utes, un­til all the wa­ter has evap­o­rated and the rice is cooked. Cover with a lid, and leave to stand for at least 10 min­utes.

To make the salad, heat the oil in small fry­ing pan on a medium flame and, when hot, fry the shal­lots un­til brown and crisp, around 20 min­utes. Take off the heat, stir in the salt, ground peanuts, herbs, chilli and lime juice, then taste and ad­just the lime, chilli or salt as you wish.

To make the larb dress­ing, put the palm sugar, lime juice, soy sauce, ta­marind paste and chilli in a small saucepan with eight ta­ble­spoons of wa­ter. Heat, stir­ring, un­til the sugar melts, then take off the heat, taste and add up to half a tea­spoon of salt, if need be.

To serve, put a flat mound of rice on each plate, layer over two au­bergine halves, pour on the dress­ing and sprin­kle the salad on top.

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