Monday, 11 August 2008

Aubergines With Fermented Chilli Bean

I was wondering what form of vegetables to bring over to my good friend’s house and recalled she loves aubergines too.
The inspiration in adding vinegar came from Tiantianchi and it works very well on the palate as it brings the whole dish together. Thanks Master Tiantianchi.
I did not have the requisite ingredients but improvised on the recipe. Add and substitute ingredients mentioned according to your taste. I would have liked to add more chilli paste to this dish but held back as there were two Brits sharing it.

Grilling the aubergines in the oven will yield a healthier result and also not require the volume of oil needed to deep fry the aubergines.
Pre-heat oven on grill and leave baking tray in oven before proceeding to prepare aubergines to prevent them from discolouring.

1. Four large aubergines, skin removed and sliced into 'fingers'. Pre-heat grill in oven to grill aubergines till slightly golden but not totally cooked through. It is not necessary to add any oil. Turn sides occasionally.
2. Stalk of spring onions, sliced

For the sauce:
1. Four tablespoons peanut/vegetable oil
2. Three tablespoons of minced ginger
3. Four shallots or half a red onion, roughly sliced
4. Two garlic cloves, minced
5. Four tablespoons fermented chilli bean paste
6. Two tablespoons fermented bean curd
7. Two tablespoons chilli paste or according to taste
8. Two teaspoons castor sugar
9. One tablespoon oyster sauce
10. One tablespoon light soya sauce
11. Two tablespoons of Shaoxing wine/dry sherry
12. Half teaspoon of black soya sauce for colour (optional)
13. Half cup of chicken stock or water
14. One tablespoon water with half teaspoon corn flour (optional)
15. Two tablespoons of rice vinegar or vinegar of your choice (optional)
16. Dash of sesame oil
17. Few drops of chilli oil (optional)

1. Medium heat, add peanut/vegetable oil to wok, add minced ginger, garlic, onion, stir around till fragrant.
2. Add fermented chilli bean paste, fermented bean curd, chilli paste, mix well and fry for about a minute or till aromatic. Increase heat to high.
3. Add aubergines, fry mixture well for about a minute. Add light soya sauce, oyster sauce and sugar. Mix well and fry for another minute.
4. Add chicken stock/water, bring it to a boil till vegetables have softened according to taste and majority of the stock has evaporated.
5. On high heat, splash Shaoxing wine/dry sherry around edges of aubergines, mix well quickly for a few seconds, add dark sauce, vinegar and corn flour mixture if used. Mix well for a few second, add chilli oil and spring onions. Adjust seasoning according to taste.
6. Optional to add a few drops of sesame oil into wok before dishing.
7. It takes less than ten minutes to cook once the aubergines are grilled.
8. Garnish with extra spring onion and serve hot.

Note: Delicious served as an appetiser too.