Monday, 5 May 2008

Egg Plants with Salted Fish

1.Marinate minced pork with dash of white pepper, pinch of cornflour, light soya sauce and a few drops of sesame seed oil.
2.Get other ingredients ready as shown in the photo. Improvise what you do not have.
3. Use about 1/4 bowl of stock from the dried mushroom.

1.Cubed and pan fried salted fish
2.Soak dried mushroom in hot water for at least twenty minutes, preferably overnight.
Reserve water.
3. Slice red chilli (optional)
4. Minced garlic and ginger
5. Spring onions/coriander or celery leaves

Slice egg plants, sprinkle with ordinary salt and set aside on a plate or colander.

Leave aside for about twenty minutes for egg plants to exude the bitter juice.
Wash and pat dry with kitchen paper towels.

Pan fried in batches till slightly golden and set aside on absorbent papers.

This dish is an inspiration and credit to Tiantianchi aka TTC from Makansutra when he answered my call for help to cook an egg plant dish to surprise my friends when we were still living in Doha.

In Sichuan recipe (yu xiang qie ji), it calls for the brinjal to be blanched in oil. However, when I was in Gejiu, a small mining town in Yunnan, I tasted one that was deep fried in batter (similar to Tempura) and braised together with the minced meat. It has very nice texture similar actually to meat. The brinjal was firmer and does not turn mushy. It absorbed the gravy much better and yet does not have the oily feeling. You might want to consider trying that.

Sichuan recipe will call for the use of spicy broad bean paste. In Cantonese cooking, a similar dish uses diced salted fish. Both I also like.

Egg plants with salted fish (1)

What I will do for the Sichuan style is:

Heat some oil and fry some minced garlic, diced ginger and diced spring onion. Add in the spicy broad bean paste and fry till it turns fragrant and the chilli oil oozes out. Add in minced meat and fry till it is kind of dry and then add in brinjal (scalded before hand) and fry for a short while (add sugar if you like it a sweeter), add a little Chinese wine and continue to stir fry for a short while before adding stock and bring to boil. Towards the end add black vinegar to taste and corn starch mixed with water to thicken it. Before serving, sprinkle chopped spring onion on it. Usually served in a clay pot.

For the Cantonese style, instead of spicy broad bean paste, I will add about a spoonful of diced, deep fried salted fish and a little oyster sauce, then the Chinese wine...the rest of procedure is the same except in this one no vinegar added. It is supposed to be more savoury than spicy and sour.

Chilli bean paste is better as fermented spicy bean paste might be a little too salty. If you do not want to add vinegar, you can blend chilli bean paste with some black bean paste (2:1). I personally find black bean paste doesn't go so well with vinegar though you might add some plum paste if you wish as I find it goes better with black bean paste.

What is 'spicy broad bean paste' in Chinese (Mandarin or in Cantonese/Hokkien)?? …. Basically in most packaging it shows the usual 豆瓣酱 just like those soya bean type. What I usually look for is in the ingredients where it says 蚕豆 (broad bean) instead of yellow soya bean ( 黄豆). To get the very authentic Sichuan type, look our for 郫县豆瓣酱 (I am not particular which brand) which is a town in Sichuan that is famous for the production of the spicy broad bean sauce. If it is the oily one, you can use it straight without too much frying, but if it is dry and does not look oily, you have to go through the process of frying it till fragrant and chilli oozes out.


There is not an exact recipe but adjust according to your taste. Have fun experimentating.

Am finding it very tedious to upload photograph individually in order to type a caption. Cut, paste, type caption etc etc and repeating the process. If this method of uploading is not applied by me, the photos will appear out of sequence :(( dated 7th May 2008. ..... ....
9th May ... gave up for now trying to put the photos right with notations.

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