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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Unique flavors of cassava leaves with bitter eggplant

By Lac Ha

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Stir-fried cassava leaves with bitter eggplant, a delicacy originating from the J’rai ethnic minority in Gia Lai Province, has transcended its local roots to become a sought-after dish in numerous restaurants. Tourists sample its unique flavors, making it a staple on many menus.

The key ingredients of this dish include cassava leaves, bitter eggplant, and chili, with optional additions like dried fish or pork for added flavor. Despite their simplicity, these ingredients pack a punch in terms of nutritional value, contributing to a healthy diet.

Preparing this dish involves several steps. First, the cassava leaves, bitter eggplant, and chili are cleaned and drained. The cassava leaves are then pounded and squeezed to remove excess water, reducing their bitterness. Meanwhile, the bitter eggplant is halved to expedite the ripening process during cooking.

In the cooking process, the bitter eggplant is added to the pot initially. After a couple of minutes, the cassava leaves and other ingredients are incorporated to preserve the leaves’ integrity. For those craving extra heat, chili can be included. The dish is then stir-fried for approximately 15 minutes until cooked to perfection.

The blend of the distinct bitter notes from the cassava leaves and bitter eggplant, combined with the spicy kick of chili and the savory goodness of pork, creates a harmonious symphony of flavors. Stir-fried cassava leaves with bitter eggplant is traditionally served with a side of hot rice and sliced trich fish (sardinella), allowing diners to fully savor its exquisite taste.

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