Malay-Style Eggplant Curry (Pajeri Terung)
Eggplant Curry Is an Easy Home-Cooked Meal
When I was growing up, I never missed a chance to cook with my mother. I loved spending time with her, especially in the kitchen, because I always learned so much about how to cook traditional Malay cuisine. One of the dishes I learned from her was eggplant curry, or masak pajeri terung. My mother often cooked this dish for family get-togethers.
Eggplant, or aubergine, is a very popular vegetable that is often used as a substitute for meat in vegan and vegetarian cuisine. On its own, eggplant has a bit of a bitter taste, but once it's cooked the flesh absorbs the spices around it, which gives it a lovely flavor.
Before preparing this curry dish, the eggplant must be cut into chunks, rinsed, and drained. You will also need coconut milk, curry powder, curry leaves, and assorted spices. By the way, if you're not a fan of eggplant, you can substitute pineapple. I love both! Pineapple will give a sweet and sour taste to the curry. Yummy!
The other important ingredient for making this Malay-style recipe is kerisik. Kerisik is freshly grated coconut that is toasted in a pan until golden brown and then pounded to make a thick, oily paste. I suggest preparing the kerisik ahead of time so that it is ready to use when preparing the curry.
Perfect for Lunch or Dinner
Once the curry is cooked, it will make a perfect lunch or dinner when served with steamed white rice. If you have leftovers, save them in a container and store in the fridge. I love leftover curry, as the sauce will thicken over time. If I'm hungry for lunch, all I have to do is take it out and heat it up on a stove for a few minutes. I hope you will try this recipe and enjoy it as much as we do!
- 2 medium eggplants, cut into chunks
- 4 cups diluted coconut milk
- 10-15 curry leaves
- 2 inches ginger roots, thinly sliced
- 3 shallots, thinly sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 4 to 5 tablespoons curry powder of your choice (mix it with some water to make a paste)
- 2 star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 cloves
- 3 green cardamoms
- 1 tablespoon diluted tamarind juice
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 shredded coconut for making kerisik (optional)
- To make the kerisik: Toast the shredded coconut on a pan without oil over medium heat. Toast the coconut until it turns golden brown. Grind the toasted coconut using mortar and pestle to make a thick, oily paste. You can save the extra kerisik in the fridge.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a pan over medium heat.
- Saute the curry leaves with shallots, garlic, ginger, cinnamon stick, cardamon, star anise, and cloves. Mix well.
- Add the curry paste and a tablespoon of kerisik to the pan. Continue stirring for 3 minutes.
- Throw in the eggplant into the pan and stir.
- After a few minutes, add the coconut milk, stir, and let it simmer.
- Add the tamarind juice and salt. Don't forget to taste!
- Let the sauce continue simmering for another 10-15 minutes or until the eggplant is softened.
- Place the eggplant curry into bowls for serving.
- Enjoy with white steamed rice and your favorite side dishes.
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