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Spicy baked eggplant (Terung balado)

Eggplant is omnipresent in Asian cuisine across all countries. They are cooked in a wide variety of ways, from dips to curries to grilled dishes. I love eggplant and try to cook it every way I can.

This is a lovely contemporary dish that incorporates traditional flavours. The tomato sambal is spicy and bold and pairs well with the eggplant, making it pop on the palate. I love how this dish looks on the table, too—bright and appealing. I enjoyed this dish.

This is a beautiful cookbook on Indonesian cuisine. The dishes are lovely and flavorful, and the recipes are written very well. This book brings a diversity of cuisine to my kitchen and table. Lara Lee brings recipes that have been handed down through generations orally, as well as newer recipes in a very easy-to-read format. This is a great book for those who want to learn about this cuisine and culture.

For more delicious recipes from this cookbook, click here


For the tomato sambal:

15-20 long red chillies (See note)

2-3 garlic cloves

1 tablespoon ginger paste

3-4 shallots

1/2 lb cherry tomatoes

1 tablespoon tamarind concentrate

1 tablespoon palm sugar or jaggery

Salt, to taste

1/2 teaspoon pepper

3 tablespoons coconut oil or sunflower oil

For the eggplant:

3 large eggplants

Coconut oil

Tomato sambal

2 scallions, thinly sliced

Start by making the sambal. Add all the ingredients, except oil, to a small blender and purèe to a coarse consistency.

Heat the oil in a small pot. Add the paste and fry on medium-low heat until the paste has thickened considerably and the oil has pooled on the surface, about 30-40 minutes. Be careful to stir the paste almost continually in the latter half, as the sambal tends to stick to the bottom and burn.

Cool and store in the fridge for as long as 1 week, but it will never last that long. Serve at room temperature.

Heat the oven to 375 ° F.

Half the eggplants longitudinally. Score the eggplant with a knife, creating a crisscross pattern.

Spray or brush with the oil. Spread 1 teaspoon of the sambal over the surface, getting the sambal into the grooves.

Roast for 30-40 minutes, depending on the size of the eggplants. The eggplants should be soft and tender.

Serve hot or at room temperature scattered with scallions and extra sambal on the side.

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