I have never eaten an eggplant before. Surprisingly, before we came to Australia, I never ate eggplants. Let alone cook them at home. Eggplants came second to bitter melon (ampalaya) which are two indigenous local vegetables abundant in the Philippines. How abundant? Let's just say it grows like weeds in most homes in the country. I'm not sure what bought about this hate with the eggplant but seasons change, and people change and change is usually for the betterment of society. So there. In fact, I was looking for eggplant seedlings when we visited Eden Gardens last week. The eggplant is now glorified in my book and one of favourite vegetables when Filipino menu comes to mind. I love that the variety of eggplants or aubergine in Australia are the big oval ones, good for 2 serves. Compared to small thin long variety we have back in the Philippines. Just one piece of this massive eggplant is just right for 2 serves in our home. Currently, its just dad and me.
And while in the subject of eggplants, I can't help but imagine a usual Filipino menu for lunch or dinner. Deep fried pork spare ribs (liempo), rice, eggplant-tomato-onion salad.
The pork ribs are seasoned with salt and pepper and deep fried until brown and the skin crispy.
The eggplant, usually grilled but this time I took a short cut and roasted them in the oven until cooked through, then diced. The tomato and onions, diced finely. This eggplant salad is usually seasoned with anchovy sauce (bagoong isda and which is bought from most Filipino shops), but I took the simpler route and just served them as is.
This is a favourite menu in our home. It brings us back to our heritage and the memories of Sunday lunches and dinner shared with family back in the Philippines. When you're older, you'll remember these dishes too. Just as I do now. But don't get me started on the ampalaya. I'm not sure Mum will ever be ready for the wrinkled bitter melon.