Jtoday’s recipe is freely inspired by lo may gay, a Cantonese dish of sticky rice with chicken that also often includes dried mushrooms, Chinese sausage, and dried shrimp. In this version, the eggplants are halved and roasted, then the flesh is added to a sweet, savory and lightly spiced mixture of sticky rice, dried mushrooms, chestnuts, ginger and chives. The rice is then stuffed into eggplant skins and cooked until deliciously sticky on the inside and crispy on the outside. Incredibly flavorful and, dare I say, meaty, this dish is worth the effort, I promise.
Eggplant stuffed with sticky rice
I use Thai Taste sticky rice, which only requires two hours of pre-soaking to cook inside the eggplants. If you have another brand, check the package, as the rice might just need an overnight soak.
Preperation 15 minutes
to cook 2 hours
For 4 people
4 medium eggplant (about 250g each), halved lengthwise
10 tablespoons of olive oil
Fine salt and black pepper
chiu chow oilor crispy chilli oil, to finish
1 limequartered, to serve
For the rice mixture
400g Thai sticky rice (aka sticky rice) – I use Thai Taste
30g dried wild mushrooms
120g precooked and peeled chestnutsfinely chopped
15g of fresh gingerpeeled and finely grated
20g chivesfinely chopped
2 cloves garlicpeeled and finely grated or mashed
3½ tablespoons maple syrup
4 tablespoons soy sauce
20g srirachaor less, to taste
For the spring onion salad
20g spring onionsjulienned
½ cucumberhalved lengthwise, seeded and thinly sliced on the bias
10g coriander leaves
1 fresh jalapeño peppercut into thin rounds (optional)
1 tbsp lime juice
Heat the oven to 240C (220C fan)/475F/Gas 9. Put the rice in a bowl, add cold water to cover, then let soak for two hours, or overnight (see recipe introduction ).
Cut cross-hatches into the flesh of each eggplant half, incising about three-quarters of the way deep into the flesh, taking care not to puncture the skin and leaving a ½cm border around the edges. Place the eggplants, cut side up, on a large flat baking sheet.
In a small bowl, mix four tablespoons of olive oil and a teaspoon of fine salt, then rub this mixture on the cut sides of the eggplants. Bake in a hot oven for 35 to 40 minutes, turning the pan once halfway through cooking, until very golden brown, then remove and let cool.
While the eggplants cook, put the dried mushrooms in a small bowl, cover with just boiled water and let soak for 15 minutes.
Lower the oven to 210C (190C fan)/410F/gas 6½. In a medium bowl, combine the chestnuts, ginger, chives, garlic, remaining six tablespoons of olive oil, maple syrup, soy sauce, sriracha, one teaspoon of fine salt and many of pepper – I used about 30 turns of the mill. Drain and finely chop the mushrooms, then add them to the bowl of chestnuts. Pour the cooked eggplant flesh into the bowl, taking care not to tear the skin.
Drain the soaked rice, add it to the bowl as well, then mix well to combine.
Arrange the hollowed-out eggplant skins in a 33cm x 26cm high-sided baking tray. Fill each half with one-eighth of the rice mixture, then pour a tablespoon of water evenly over each. Drizzle with a little olive oil, cover very tightly with aluminum foil, so that no steam can escape, and cook in the oven for an hour. Remove foil, bake uncovered for five more minutes, then remove and let stand and cool for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the salad: in a small bowl, combine the spring onions, cucumber, cilantro, jalapeño, lime juice and a good pinch of salt. Transfer the eggplants to a platter or individual plates, garnish with some salad, then drizzle with chili oil to taste and serve with lime wedges on the side.