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  • Writer's pictureRex De Guzman

Ensaladang Talong with Smoked Mackerel

Updated: Feb 8, 2022

Charred aubergine with heritage tomatoes, bell pepper & red onion salad. Pickled radish, soy vinegar dressing, soy garlic glaze, and fried smoked mackerel

When it comes to first impressions, this Filipino dish definitely leaves its mark. But the real beauty of this dish lies in its simplicity and relatively unknown but classic flavour combinations.

Whether it is the soy vinegar dressing that brings a refreshing sourness.. the addictive sweetness found in the soy garlic glaze, or the umami goodness found only by cooking the aubergine in a certain way, this modern recipe will certainly give you a clearer understanding of the key flavours found in Filipino cookery.

This recipe has been slightly adapted more for sharing.


Cooking Time: 30-40 minutes

Serves: 3-4


2 Aubergines, Large

300ml Vegetable Oil

1kg Heirloom Tomatoes (or regular red tomatoes)

1 Small Red Onion

1 Bell Pepper, Red

1 Bell Pepper, Yellow

1 Bunch Spring Onion

Pinch Sea Salt

Pinch Pepper

100ml Light Soy Sauce

120g Soft Dark Brown Sugar

5 Garlic Cloves

50ml Light Soy Sauce

100ml Rice vinegar or Coconut Vinegar

To Taste Caster Sugar

1 Lemon

2 Garlic cloves

1 tsp Caster Sugar

2 tbsp Vegetable Oil

2 fillets Smoked Mackerel


Cut the Aubergines in half lengthways and again into quarters and cut each quarter into large wedges. Fry them flesh side down for 1-2 minutes on each side, in a grill pan in shallow oil until dark brown, almost black and until very tender (becareful, sometimes the oil will spit). Remove the Aubergines from the pan onto some kitchen towel and remove the excess oil. Season with salt.

Make the soy garlic glaze by combining the light soy sauce with soft dark brown sugar. Bring to the boil and remove from the heat to cool. (be careful not to over boil and spill the syrup) Meanwhile, mince all of the garlic as finely as possible and set aside. Add 2/3rds of the minced raw garlic to the sauce to infuse.

Make the soy vinegar dressing by whisking the vinegar with soy sauce and add the remaining minced garlic and a bit of caster sugar to balance. Gradually whisk in the vegetable oil. Taste and adjust the seasoning. (It should have a sour and mildly salty taste with a bold hit of garlic)

Cut or slice the tomatoes into wedges or thin slices, finely slice the red onion, dice the bell peppers and combine in a bowl. Season with Sea salt and dress in the soy vinegar dressing and allow to marinade for a few minutes before serving.

In a shallow frying pan, fry the smoked mackerel for approximately 2 minutes on each side until caramelized. Remove from the pan and drain off excess oil.

Plate up with the tomato and red onion salad on the base. Place the charred aubergines on top and dress lightly with a touch more soy vinegar dressing. Add the fried mackerel and spoon over the soy garlic glaze over the charred aubergines.

Happy Cooking!

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