Wednesday, October 7

Eggplant in Si-Chuan Style

I planted two Ichiban eggplant (Japanese eggplant) shrubs in my vegetable garden the past spring. They did grow well and provided us with good crop all summer long. Normally, I’d like to steam the eggplants to preserve its natural taste and nutrients, and eat with soy sauce and minced garlic dip. Though the eggplants I grew didn’t look very outstanding, but we had fresh pesticides-free crop all the time, and we always enjoyed the fresh sweetness of the eggplants in every bite.

Now the season has come to the end, and I’d like to cook the last few eggplants in a different way, Eggplant in Si-Chuan Style (yu-xiang-qie-zi 魚香茄子).  As I know, many kids don’t care for eggplants very much.  In order to introduce this good vegetable to them, I try to cook the way that they can accept it.  Ground pork is added when I cooked this Si-Chuan style dish and I used some red chili peppers to bring out the mild spiciness that they can tolerate.  I didn’t use Hot Bean Paste in this dish, so it’s neither too greasy nor too spicy, and it’s suitable for both old and young. 
This “Yu-xiang, 魚香” dish sounds like it has something to do with fish (), actually it does not.  It just has all the ingredients used in cooking fish in Si-Chuan style, such as green onion, ginger root, garlic and hot peppers (fish doesn’t have to be one of the ingredients).  This is one of the representative ways of cooking in Si-Chuan cuisine.

4 Japanese Eggplants (about 300g)
150g ground pork
2 tablespoons minced ginger root
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons green onions
1 red chili pepper, chopped (adjust quantity based on personal preference

2 tablespoons wine
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon cornstarch

1. Remove stalk of eggplants and wipe them clean. Cut eggplants into thumb size pieces. Heat oil in deep-fry pan until it’s very hot.  Put eggplant in to deep fry until it’s soft (Tip 1). Remove eggplant, drain and squeeze out the excess oil and set aside.
2. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in frying pan, add minced ginger root, minced garlic, chopped red chili peppers and green onions, stir fry until fragrant. Add ground pork, stir fry until it’s cooked.  Add wine, soy sauce, sugar and 1/3 cup water and bring it to boil, add eggplant, lower the heat to medium high and cook about 1 minute. Add wet cornstarch (ratio of cornstarch and water is 1 to 3) and bring it boil, add sesame oil, mix well and serve.

Tip 1: Eggplant can be stir-fried with 6 tablespoons oil instead of deep-fry.

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