At the restaurant in Ottawa where I ate the above dish, it appeared on the dim sum menu as 煎釀茄子 (jiān niàng qiézi). The final two characters mean eggplant while the second character (which contains the wine radical) generally means to ferment or brew, but, in this specific context, it indicates a stuffed vegetable. The character that is a little odd here is the first which means to pan-fry. However, this particular version was, I am fairly sure, actually deep-fried.
The eggplant in question is one of the slender Asian varieties that has been cut into sections on the bias and then slit open to make a pocket for a stuffing of minced shrimp. After frying, the pieces were served in a sweetish, soy based sauce that went really well. The eggplant was nicely tender and I generally enjoyed this but the restaurant was too skimpy with the filling. Eggplant dominated shrimp to an unfortunate degree. When I reproduce this dish (probably using zucchini instead of eggplant), I will be considerably more generous…
I am not sure of the pairing of shrimp with grilled eggplant and grilled zucchini has ever actually occurred in an actual Thai recipe, but the spice paste I have put together for this dish is very Thai in spirit. I have a very dense (over 600 page) cookery book simply entitled ‘Thai Food’ written by David Thompson (no relation as far as I know), and it contains hundreds of recipes, almost all of which feature a unique spice blend based on the Thai palate. I find endless inspiration for culinary adventures in these pages and I love mixing and matching various ingredients in different quantities for my own creations. I never know exactly how a given concoction will turn out, but I am happy to report that the blend I arrived at for today’s post is a definite winner and well worth using again… Continue reading “Thai Shrimp Curry”
Some time ago, I took a look at Lee Kum Kee’s Spicy Bean Sauce and then featured it in a Ma Po Style Eggplant dish (which gave effect to the intended use of the jarred condiment). As I mentioned in the latter post, I was not impressed with the Lee Kum Kee product as a proper ‘Ma Po’ style sauce but I still found it pretty decent and, here, I have paired it once again with eggplant. This time, however, I am using the slender Japanese variety rather than the fatter European ones, and I have replaced the ground pork with strips of beef… Continue reading “Bean Paste Beef and Eggplant”
This particular dish is Asian in spirit but doesn’t belong to any specific cuisine. It calls for the long, slender types of eggplant common to Japanese, or south-east Asian kitchens rather than the fatter, deep purple eggplants more familiar in the west. It could easily be served as a side dish as part of a more complex meal, or eaten alone as a snack or even a simple breakfast… Continue reading “Eggs with Eggplant and Basil”
We frequently get long thin Asian eggplants as well as the fatter European variety here in our local stores. Unfortunately, the former always seem to be of poor quality after having made the long flight north. When I espied some nice ones this morning, I decided I would stir-fry them with beef… Continue reading “Beef with Eggplant and Onion”
Last year, I posted a dish I called Fish-fragrant Pork Belly with Pineapple, and I briefly mentioned the origin of the name. There is a group of dishes in Chinese cuisine (chiefly that of Sichuan and, to a lesser extent, Hunan), which are referred to using the Chinese characters ‘魚香’ (pronounced ‘yu xiang’). The first means ‘fish’ while the second can be translated as ‘fragrance’ or ‘aroma’. A ‘fish fragrant’ dish is characterized by a technique wherein garlic, ginger and scallion are first sautéed in oil and then the main ingredients are added along with a sauce composed of Chili-bean paste enlivened with sugar and vinegar.
The name, as we shall see below, actually has little to do with fish. Occasionally, once comes across a very unfortunate Chinese to English translation in which the characters are rendered as ‘fish-odor’ or ‘fish-smelling’ but very often, in the west, a dish will be described as being served in ‘garlic sauce’ or ‘spicy garlic sauce’. If you see these on a menu, look for the ‘Yu Xiang’ characters and you will know that you are dealing with a ‘fish fragrant’ dish. Two of the most common main ingredients are shredded pork and eggplant but it is also possible to come across a fish-fragrant fish dish as well. For today, I am doing an eggplant version but, since I only had a very small eggplant to work with, I am supplementing it with zucchini, which should do very nicely too… Continue reading “Yu Xiang (Fish-fragrant) Eggplant and Zucchini”
I put together the above-pictured dish to try out the Lee Kum Kee Spicy Bean Sauce I featured in ‘Foodstuffs’ post a while ago. At that time, I wrote that this particular product is intended as a sauce for the classic Chinese dish Ma Po Tofu (which I describe more fully in that article), but since I really don’t have a great liking for tofu I decided to substitute eggplant instead… Continue reading “Ma Po Style Eggplant (麻婆茄子)”