In Filipino, adobong isda at talong sa gata. In English, fish and eggplant adobo with coconut milk. Who said you can’t make adobo with fish and eggplants?
But I haven’t come across a Filipino adobo that combines vegetables with seafood. And I thought… why not? No earthly reason why it shouldn’t turn out well.
And so this fish and eggplant adobo with coconut milk was born. Not that I intended to cook it that way. Originally, I thought I’d make eggplant adobo with coconut milk as a side dish to fried fish. But the fish steaks didn’t come out crispy (the stove in Alex’s kitchen doesn’t have a two-ring burner so the heat wasn’t high enough to make the fish crispy). So, I broke the flesh into chunks after cooking and tossed the pieces, along with the eggplants, in adobo sauce.
Risky, I know. I couldn’t have ruined our lunch. But, you know, you’ll never know if something will work unless you try.
The result? Quite wonderful. A new template for adobo, definitely. Seafood and veggies.
Fish and Eggplant Adobo with Coconut Milk
- 500 grams fish steaks - (fillets will work too)
- 1/4 cup cooking oil
- 4 to 6 Asian eggplants - split lengthwise then cut into half-inch pieces
- 6 cloves garlic - lightly pounded and peeled
- 2 shallots - peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 3 to 4 tablespoons vinegar
- 1 cup coconut cream
- toasted garlic bits - to garnish
- fried shallots - to garnish
- thinly sliced scallions - to garnish
- Rinse the fish and wipe dry with paper towels. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper on all sides.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan.
- Lightly fry the fish on both sides just until done. DO NOT overcook. Scoop out and move to a plate.
- Using two forks, cut the fish flesh into chunks.
- In the remaining oil, lightly fry the eggplants. Scoop out and spread on a plate just before they are done (they will continue to soften off the heat).
- In the remaining cooking oil, saute the garlic, shallots and bay leaves.
- Pour in the vinegar, sprinkle in salt and pepper, and allow to bubble until the liquid is reduced by half.
- Pour in the coconut cream. Taste. Adjust the seasonings, as needed. Heat just until the mixture is bubbly.
- Add the fish and eggplants to the sauce. Toss lightly (be careful not to break the eggplants and fish) but thoroughly to coat each piece of fish and eggplant with sauce.
- Garnish the fish and eggplant adobo with coconut cream with toasted garlic, fried shallots and sliced scallion. Serve immediately.
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