1/2 cup natural chunky peanut butter
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 teaspoons sambal olek or other chile paste
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
6 Asian or baby eggplant
1/4 cup chopped, roasted peanuts
1/4 cup sliced scallions.
1. In a bowl, whisk together peanut butter, 1/3 cup water, soy sauce, sugar, lime zest, lime juice, sambal olek and garlic.
2. Trim the ends of the eggplant. If using baby eggplant, peel them. Place in a steamer basket set over a pan of simmering water. Cover and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. (Alternatively, you can wrap the eggplants individually in parchment and microwave until tender, 3 to 4 minutes.) Halve eggplants lengthwise.
3. Transfer eggplants to a platter, cut side up. Spoon peanut sauce over eggplant. Garnish with peanuts and scallions.
Yield: 6 servings as an appetizer; 3 to 4 as a side dish