I came to China and fell in love with eggplant (and enjoyed a few others things along the way too).
Sure, I had always “liked” eggplant, but love, no.
Now we are entangled in a deep love affair, eggplant and I. I appreciate it from the bottom of my heart and never get sick of it.
While D on the other hand would be happy to leave it off the menu for a few months I eagerly order it every time I see it. Doesn’t even matter how it’s prepared – count me in.
I hate to break it to the chubster Italian eggplant, the Asian long and skinny variety is way superior (in my mind). Less acidic and just more tender, this is my new favorite vegetable.
So when I heard that eggplant was on the Rice and Friends cooking school menu I was elated. I had already mastered one Chinese eggplant recipe at the Yangshuo Cooking School and this would be my second.
Known as the fish flavored eggplant, the recipe actually is vegetarian. It used to be made with fish but one time it was made without it and people liked it just the same so nowadays the fish is permanently omitted though the name hasn’t changed.
At first glance a simple eggplant recipe. After further examination – a masterpiece of flavors bold enough to keep you remembering this dish long after its gone.
No joke, the recipe seems simple enough but something magical happens when all the raw ingredients come together. Once again balance is key. The sauce has to have the perfect ratio of salt, sugar, vinegar and soy sauce for the fish to come alive.
Surprisingly the sugar brings out the flavor of the vinegar. If the sauce tastes a little off at first, add a pinch of sugar – this worked wonders for me.
Oh and if you’ve got one of those adorable clay pots which you have yet to show off – get it out now – this is the dish for it.
I truly loved this recipe and cannot wait to have kitchen access so I can make it over and over again. Or maybe just a dinner party sized portion – all for myself.
We have already made the transition into Vietnam so I am on the look out for a new favorite ingredient (but eggplant is still on the back on my mind).
- 1 Asian eggplant,
- 3-4 small pickled red chili peppers, minced
- ½ piece of ginger, minced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 green onions, cut into ½ inch sections
- 4 tablespoons oil
- For the sauce:
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ¾ tablespoon Chinese black rice vinegar
- ½ tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon water
- Cut the eggplant into thin 2 inch long strips.
- In a small bowl combine salt, sugar, vinegar and soy sauce. In a separate bowl mix cornstarch with water.
- Heat a wok over high heat until hot but not smoking. Add 4 tablespoons oil and half the eggplant. Stir fry for 3-4 minutes (reducing heat so it does not burn) until the eggplant softens. Remove the eggplant and add remaining uncooked eggplant to the wok. Remove.
- Leave 1 tablespoon il in the wok and add the pickled red chili. Stir fry for 30 seconds. Add the minced garlic and ginger. Stir fry until aromatic (about 1 minute).
- Add the sauce to the wok and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the eggplant to the wok and cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes until eggplant is just tender. Add the cornstarch mix and stir for 15 seconds. Add the green onions and mix.
- Serve hot with rice
Recipe from Rice and Friends Cooking Schools