This is a Burmese dish. 'Sipyan' in Burmese means 'oil returns', so don't skimp on the oil. I use extra-light olive oil in all my cooking and since olive oil is supposed to be healthy, that along with the word 'light' gives me a certain amount of freedom to use a little extra oil. To allow the full flavour of this dish to develop, it should be simmered on a low flame for as long as it takes for the liquid to evaporate and the oil to return to the surface.
6 oriental eggplants, cubed
1 lb. medium shrimp, shelled & deveined
2 medium onions, quartered
6 garlic cloves, halved
2 dried red chillies, soaked
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp. paprika
1/8 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. shrimp paste
1 Tbsp. fish sauce
6 Tbsp. vegetable oil
- Sprinkle salt over eggplants in a colander and set aside.
- Blanch onions and garlic in a cup of boiling water, strain and keep hot water on a low simmer for step 8.
- Puree all ingredients except eggplants, shrimp, cilantro and oil.
- Heat 3 Tbsp. oil over medium heat and fry shrimp just until pink.
- Remove shrimp and set aside.
- In same saucepan heat remaining 3 Tbsp. oil and add pureed ingredients.
- Simmer over medium-low heat until oil resurfaces.
- Add reserved simmering water and bring to a brisk boil.
- Simmer gravy for 5 minutes and add eggplants to saucepan.
- Cover and simmer over low heat for 15-20 minutes or until all the liquid has evaporated and eggplants are cooked.
- Add shrimp, stir and simmer for 5 minutes more.
- Adjust seasoning and remove from heat.
- Garnish with cilantro and serve with hot cooked rice.