Aubergine larb with sticky rice and shallot salad
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.