Want something that is meatless? Sure you would love Ensaladang Talong, a dish for vegetarians, like you!
It was just recently that I have learned about this although I so love veggies. I knew about it when one evening, my friend who is a vegetarian now, visited our home for the first time in 4 years, and she surprised me when she told me on the phone that she was a vegetarian. The call was probably just to give me a piece of advice not to serve her dishes with any types of meat.
Then, I searched online for Filipino dish that would just satisfy her tummy. I found some, and one of them was Ensaladang Talong. Although some prefer to add a little meat for added savory flavor, I chose to stick to the original one, which didn’t have meat in it.
What Really Is Ensaladang Talong?
Ensaladang Talong or Eggplant Salad, is a very simple Filipino dish that is basically served as a side dish for fried meat or fish. However, vegetable lovers can have it alone.
The word ensalada means salad which means a mixture of raw ingredients, especially vegetables. Ensaladang Talong consists of smashed grilled eggplant, tomatoes, onions, water and vinegar. There are sugar, black pepper and salt for added taste balance and spice.
Vinegar and water mixture serves as the dressing and as a preservative too, so this can be eaten for a few more days, especially for a country where food easily gets spoiled because of our tropical weather.
Unlike other types of Salad, Ensaladang Talong is probably the cheapest in terms of its ingredients. Others Salads use mayonaise as the souring agent, and they use expensive fruits and veggies, such as lettuce, mango, apple, avocado, and some even have chicken strips.
Thus, Ensaladang Talong is just economical even for the poorest of the poor.
Lastly, it is probably one of the fastes dishes to prepare as it only takes 10-20 minutes to prepare. It depends on how fast you cut the veggies and grill and smash the eggplants.
How Helpful Are Ensaladang Talong Ingredients?
Aside from the being so budget-friendly of the Eggplant Salad, this surely has its benefits too that are brought by its ingredients. Let’s talk about Eggplant, Tomatoes and Onion. Read on!
- Eggplant is a great source of vitamins & minerals: vitamin C, thiamine, vitamin B6, vitamin K, potassium, niacin, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, copper, fiber, folic acid and many more.
- Eggplant is high fiber, and fiber is not easily digested, making a person feel full for Longer.
- Eggplant also has lutein which is good for your eye health.
- It has micronutrients, Polyphenols that are said to be helpful in protecting us from cancer.
- The fiber in Eggplant slows absorption of sugar and the digestion rate, so blood sugar can be lowered.
- Like eggplant, it also has fiber which is good for weight management and good for lowering sugar level.
- It has the plant compounds, such as Lycopene, Beta carotene, Chlorogenic acid and Naringenin.
- The most notable compound, Lycopene is an antioxidant that helps fight free radicals that may create oxidative stress in our body as stress is also connected to diseases, like cancer, heart disease, etc.
- Lycopene also helps in preventing or delaying development of eye problems eye problems, like cataracts.
- Other vitamins and minerals in Tomatoes include Vitamin C, Vitamin K1, Folate and Potassium.
- Onions have a plant pigmen, quercetin that acts as an antihistamine and an anti-inflammatory agent that help fight allergic reaction and asthma.
- It has an essential oil, allyl propyl disulphide that increases the amount of free insulin, therefore lowers blood sugar levels.
- Onion also prevents heart diseases and maintains good blood pressure.
- It is also a rich source of sulfur, amino acids needed for protein synthesis
- Prevents types of cancer, especially when combined with turmeric.
With all those benefits of this dish’s ingredients mentioned, there’s no reason for you not to eat this unless you have a child-like heart for veggies.
When Your Ensaladang Talong Is a Little Bit Off
It’s an avoidable for any cooks to commit mistakes while preparing dishes, and sometimes the ones with the easiest recipes to follow are the hardest to pull off.
Here are taste issues your Ensaladang Talong might have
While this isn’t an issue cause salads naturally have sour flavor, for some people it might be too much, so for their sake, here’s a tip: just add water and a little sugar to balance the taste.
This happens when you think there’s so much water and you add a lot of fish sauce, so when it happens, water, sour and a little more of the veggies. In that way, it will have balance.
Too Watery Dressing
It is not a vegetable juice, so it shouldn’t be like it. When there’s too much dressing or water, the best thing to do it to add vegetables and salt and pepper.
Things to Remember When Making Ensaladang Talong
This is easy to prepare, but here are a few tips to help have a better tasting Ensaladang Talong.
- Grill the Eggplants. Others make the mistake of frying it. We want to avoid oil, so cook the eggplant the oil-free way.
- Make sure to use fresh eggplants, tomatoes and onions as whey they are rotten, they ruin the salad texture and even the taste.
- Vinegar is also an important souring agent, so buy the best one.
- It might not work for you, but for some, they put it in the fridge before they eat it, so you might want to try it.
- Try adding red chilies for the hot flavor, and to make this simple side dish more exciting.
- You may also add unripe green mangoes for the crunchy texture.
- Instead of rock salt, opt for iodized salt.
- Instead of vinegar, you can use lemon or calamansi juice.
- If you are planning to opt for white onions, remember that red onions fit salad in terms of their color and mild taste.
Food Pairing Time: Best Partners for Ensaladang Talong
Although for vegetarians, this can stand alone on its own, it is still not safe from food pairing. Thus, below are a list of dishes that go along well with this Eggplant Salad. If you are a vegetarian, don’t read on!
Since Ensalada is all veggies, we need fried fish for added texture and flavor. Also, the vinegar in the Ensalada just reduces its fishy taste, so it’s just logical for them to be a tandem.
Grilled Milkfish or Tilapia
If you want to really avoid fried dishes, then, grilled fish is just a perfect alternative. You can use Ensaladang Talong as a dip to your Grilled Bangus or St.Peter’s fish.
Grilled Pork or Chicken
During Your Barbeque night or day with your family, sure you will have grilled Pork or Chicken, and Ensaldang can serve as the dip.
Buttered shrimp’s savory flavor just goes well with Ensalada’s sour and healthy flavor. It might also have a little fishy aftertaste, but with having a spoon of Ensalada can lessen it.
Ensaladang Talong plus Shrimp paste equals an affordable viand that is served with hot steamed rice.
For more recipes, visit Eat like Pinoy!
Best Ensaladang Talong Recipe
- 4 pcs Eggplants
- 4 pcs Tomatoes cubed
- 1 large Onion cubed
- 1/4 cup Vinegar
- 1/2 tsp Crushed Pepper
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 2 tbsp Sugar
- 3 cups Water
- Boil the eggplant in 3 cups of water for 10 minutes.
- Peel the eggplant, take a bowl and slice the eggplant about 2 inches in size.
- Slice the onion cubed also the tomatoes.
- Put everything in a bowl, take 1/4 vinegar, add salt, sugar and crushed pepper, mix until salt and sugar dissolve.
- Pour the vinegar into the eggplant and mix it slowly.
- Serve and enjoy!