Friday, 23 May 2008

Egg Plants

1. Two egg plants, sliced into wedges
2. One fresh chilli, optional
3. Spring onions/coriander, optional
4. One and a half tablespoons fermented chilli bean paste or yellow bean paste
5. Three tablespoons onion oil
6. Thumb of ginger, roughly chopped
7. Two cloves of garlic, roughly chopped – divided into two portions
8. Two dried mushrooms, soaked in boiling water for at least twenty minutes, optional
9. Pinch of sugar
10. Dash of white pepper
11. One tablespoon of oyster sauce or light soya sauce or both optional
12. One cup water or stock from dried mushroom - with a pinch of potato flour added. Mix well.
13. Sufficient water to cover egg plants
14. Tablespoon of Huo Tao wine or equivalent - optional

1. Add water to pot and bring to a boil. When water boils, add a pinch of salt and egg plants and cook for about two minutes. Drain on colander.
2. On a medium heated pan, add two tablespoons of onion oil, pan fry ingredients separately in the same pan, start with the mushroom first, and then ginger followed by the rest of the ingredients. Gradually mix all the ingredients together and pan fry till fragrant then dish them up on a plate.
3. Do not wash the pan. Reheat with another tablespoon of onion oil, pan fry the garlic still fragrant, increase heat, add egg plant, stir fry on high heat for about a minute, add dash of white pepper, fried paste, sugar, light/soya sauce and mix well. Fry for about a minute. Scrape bottom of pan if necessary.
4. Add water/stock, mix well and leave it to simmer till the softness is to your preference. Add more stock if necessary.
5. If using wine, increase heat to high, splash wine at edges of egg plants, mix well.
6. Adjust seasoning and serve immediately with white rice

Caramalized Onions

1. Two Spanish onions or any red skinned onions
2. One cup of vegetable oil
3. Small pot, just sufficient to cook onions

1. Finely slice onions.
2. Heat pot, when pot is hot, add oil.
3. When oil is smoking, add onions slices and stir around gently on high heat.
Add more oil if necessary, it will not be wasted.
4. Onions are done when they turn golden brown, remove from stove and place on rack as it will still continue to brown if left on the same ring.
Do not burn onions as it will taste bitter.
5. When it has completely cooled down, pour in a jar. Store at room temperature as it keeps very well

Occasionally I will add roughly chopped garlic into the caramelized onions at the very last stage when the onions are slightly golden.
I absolutely love it. Use loads when cooking vegetables, marinade/grilling/pan-frying meat, fish, in soup, salads or simply let your imagination run riot.
Top up oil in bottle when it's running low. The caramelized onions will still continue to 'perfume' the oil.