Another product of Pinoy ingenuity, Relyenong Talong or Stuffed Eggplant is made from eggplant filled with mixture of stir-fried ground meat, potatoes and some spices. Eggs and flour are also added to let the stuffing coagulate or solidify similar to those of the burger patties. It is very similar to eggplant omelet or tortang talong sans the minced pork or beef, and potatoes.
|The saltiness and piquancy of the pre-seasoned pieces of meat blended well with the sweetness of the juicy eggplant.|
The version that I have learned is somewhat a bend from the traditional way. Here, I made useful of the pork chops from last night’s dinner and I can say that this one is much tastier and savory because the leftover meat is already packed with its own seasonings and spices from the previous dish. In fact, I tried using some leftover fried breaded pork chops (extra slices of pork adobo can also do wonders) and they just suited well with the eggplant. The saltiness and piquancy of the precooked and pre-seasoned finely chopped meat merged easily with the sweetness of the juicy flesh of the eggplant. This is just among the number of lifehacks that growing up having to cook for your own lunch has taught me. It is not only delicious, budget friendly as well. Along with some homemade spiced vinegar dipping sauce or maybe your favorite ketchup – surely, there is no way to go but fill your plate with heaps and heaps of extra rice.
Relyenong Talong (Stuffed Eggplant)
Number of Servings: 5
- 5 pcs. medium long eggplants
- 1½ lbs. ground pork or meat (fine pieces of leftover chops or adobo for added flavor)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 pcs. tomatoes, finely chopped
- 2 pcs. potatoes, peeled and finely diced
- 1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped
- ½ tbsp. ground pepper
- ½ tbsp. salt
- ½ tbsp. soy sauce
- 2 tbsp. cornstarch or flour
- 1 pc. egg, scrambled
- 2 tbsps. flour
- cooking oil
- In a medium pot, boil the eggplants until the skin slightly turns brown. Do not overcook. Drain and set aside.
- In a medium frying pan, heat the cooking oil and sauté the garlic, onion and tomatoes. Add the potatoes and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the minced meat and cook for another 5 to 7 minutes or until the color turns pale brown and the pork renders fats. If you are using minced leftover adobo, not a lot of cooking is needed. Just toss the fine chops for a couple of minutes.
- Season with soy sauce, salt and pepper. Drain the excess fats and let it cool.
- In a bowl, put the cooked ground pork, bell pepper and egg. Mix thoroughly until the ingredients are well-blended. Add some cornstarch or flour, just enough to let the mixture thicken a little bit.
- Using a sharp knife, slit the center of each eggplant lengthwise. Be careful not to cut all the way through. Using a fork, compress the flesh of the eggplant in, leaving enough space for the fillings.
- One by one, sprinkle the flesh of the eggplant with salt and gently stuff with pork mixture. Make sure not to break the eggplant.
- In the same frying pan, heat enough cooking oil over medium to low heat. Put on the stuffed eggplant, carefully flipping each side with spatula or flat kitchen turner. Cook for 3 minutes on both sides or until the filling is well-done.
- Remove from the pan and place on a serving plate.
- Serve with ketchup or homemade spiced vinegar on the side. Enjoy!
TIPS FROM ENZ:
- In boiling, be cautious not to overcook the eggplant (half-cooked is good) since you are still going to fry it and also to let it stay firm enough to hold the stuffing. Instead of boiling, you may choose to grill or broil the eggplant until it becomes soft and steamy.
- If you are using leftover adobo, lessen the cooking time as the meat’s texture might get too dry and grainy. Also you may reduce (or skip) the use of seasonings as the pre-cooked meat is already flavored.
- You may also use leftover beef or fish meat and adjust the seasonings to your own desire.
- You can have ketchup or spiced vinegar as dip sauce. It also works best with atchara (pickled unripe papaya) as side dish.