For the record, oop is a Burmese cooking term referring to cooking something without liquid in a tightly sealed pot. It is similar to what the French would refer to when "sweating" a vegetable. So wait a minute, how did a Middle Eastern cooking blog end up in Burma? Well for the simple reason that this was described as "the best eggplant dish ever," and any self respecting Middle Eastern chef has to be an eggplant aficionado.
I'm going to start off by saying that this is not the best eggplant dish ever (for that I might give honor's to Margaret's Eggplant). It is however, a very good eggplant recipe, an addictively spicy spread, and just a good thing to have hanging out in the fridge for healthy snacks.
The eggplant, mixed with spices and a tomato cooks down for over 2 hours until it is a thick spicy almost treacly mass. This is traditionally served as a sort of condiment, and if I make this again I would cook this down ever further to make it thicker and richer. It is quite spicy, but not unbearably so, and a I really enjoyed eating it as a dip when mixed with a good dollop of thick yogurt. How very Arab of me.
The cooking here is very simple but you really do have to stir it every 10 minutes or so. It's a good thing to make on a Sunday afternoon when you're cooking other food for the week.
3 Thai bird chilies, sliced (or 2 of you can't handle the heat)
1 diced shallot
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 medium tomato, chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 1/2 lbs eggplant chopped (either 4-5 small Asian style eggplants or 2 large eggplants)
diced mint or cilantro, for garnish
1. Place chili, garlic, shallot, and salt in a food processor or mortar and pestle and puree to a fine paste.
2. Heat the oil in the bottom of a 4 quart heavy bottomed pot with a tight fitting lid. Add the puree mixture and cook, stirring, for 5-6 minutes. Add the tomato, turmeric, and eggplant, stirring everything to combine. Cover the pot and let simmer. Stir every 10-15 minutes, making sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pot. Cook for around 2 hours, until thick and concentrated. Let cool, sprinkle with mint or cilantro.
3. Good as a sandwich spread or simply as a cold dip. I imagine it would make a good sauce for noodles if you wanted.