Looking for an easy meal idea? Binagoongan Talong is super simple to make yet so tasty. The smoky eggplant, tender pork, and delicious medley of spicy and savory flavors are sure to be a hit at the dinner table!
Fried eggplant is usually served as a side dish to binagoongan baboy to complement the pungent shrimp paste taste. In this binagoongan talong recipe, however, it takes center stage and a small amount of pork is added only to bring in a bit of fat to boost flavor.
I came up with this eggplant version because I love the savory flavors of binagoongan, but there’s only so much fatty pork belly I can eat before it starts creeping up on my already wide girth. By using more talong and less meat, I get to enjoy my favorite dish with less guilt.
Eggplant to use
- There are many varieties of eggplant to choose from, but the Asian cultivars that are long and slim with purple to purple-black color are best for this recipe.
- Go for small to medium eggplants which are generally sweeter, less bitter, and have thinner skin and fewer seeds than their larger counterparts.
- Pick ones that are heavy for their size and slightly firm but not too hard. Check for smooth, shiny skins free of blemishes or wrinkling and green stems without any signs of molds.
How to roast eggplant in the oven
Eggplant soaks up a lot of oil when dried. Drain them well on paper towels to keep the sauce from becoming overly greasy. You can skip the pan-frying, if you like, and roast in the oven to trim down the fat.
- Arrange the sliced eggplant in a single layer on a baking sheet and brush with olive oil.
- Roast in a 425 F oven for about 10 minutes or until slightly softened.
- Remove from the oven and use in the recipe as directed.
One easy hack if you prefer frying but want less oil is to brush the sliced eggplants with a thin coat of beaten egg whites prior to frying. Give this method a try and let me know what you think!
- Keep the cut eggplant in a bowl of water until ready to cook to prevent darkening.
- Allow the vinegar to boil uncovered and without stirring for a few minutes before adding the water to cook off the strong acid taste.
- Do NOT skip the sugar as it helps balance the overall flavor of the dish.
- If using sauteed shrimp paste that’s already sweetened, do a taste test and adjust or omit the sugar.
How to serve
Binagoongan talong is delicious as a main dish for lunch and dinner. Serve with steamed rice for a full-flavored meal everyone won’t be able to get enough of!
- Transfer leftovers in a container with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 2 months.
- Reheat in pan over medium heat to 165 F or in the microwave at 2 to 3-minute intervals until completely heated through.