18 Jul2005

This is definitely the recipe of the month! aspicytal1It is absolutely delicious, economical and takes less than 15 minutes to make. With a bowl of steamed rice it is a satisfying meal. I have always ordered “Szechuan style” or “spicy” eggplant dishes in Chinese restaurants (particularly in the West) but I have NEVER tried to cook it at home. The other day I purchased all that incredible eggplant and just had to do it justice… so I scoured my Asian cookbooks and even the internet but I didn’t find a recipe that I completely liked. So I took the basic ideas from the recipes and improvised a little. A Chinese cook would probably cringe at my version, but I liked it, so there. I do not call it anything Szechuan or Chinese like… this is simply Spicy Eggplant a la Marketman.

Start with superb eggplants. The ones I used were the best I have seen in Manila in recent memory. They were large, firm, unblemished, with solid meat (no airy insides with lots of maturish seeds) and shiny skinned Asian eggplants. I used four large ones. aspicytal2Cut into bite sized cubes and set aside. Marinate some ground pork say 1-2 cups in 2-3 tablespoons Kikkoman soy sauce, some water and a tablespoon of cornstarch. Add say two tablespoons of oyster sauce to the meat mixture. Put a frying pan or wok on super high heat. Wait for the pan to get really hot. Add 4-6 tablespoons of vegetable oil and wait a few seconds till that gets really hot. Put all the eggplant in the pan and shake vigorously like those TV chefs like to do. Use a spatula to jostle the eggplant and avoid burning it. If the oil disappears (it gets absorbed really quickly, add a bit more. All the time keep shaking and keep the heat up. After 2-3 minutes, when the eggplant is semi-cooked, remove it to a clean plate. Return the pan to the fire and heat it up again. Add about 2 tablespoons of oil, and add the marinated meat mixture, Add 6 finely chopped cloves of garlic. Add about a tablespoon of Shaoxing rice wine then perhaps another 2-4 tablespoons of oyster sauce, a tablespoon of chili sauce with garlic and up to 3-4 chopped sili labuyos (birds eye chili). Add cracked black pepper. After a minute or so sautéing the meat (it should not be overly dry) add back the eggplants and stir gently until cooked, perhaps another 2-3 minutes. Add some chopped green onion for flavor and color. Serve hot with steamed rice. This could be a side dish or a main course. A touch of sesame oil could also be added just before serving if you like. Total cost probably below PHP100 and it would easily serve 8. That’s just PHP12.50 per serving. Enjoy!

 

COMMENTS:

  1. stef says:

    ooh, yummy! this is very similar to the way i “sneak” eggplants into my children’s diet — except i use sambal oelek for heat, and i dice the eggplant so they don’t detect it!

    Jul 18, 2005 | 6:40 am

     
  2. Apa says:

    I used to cook the same thing, patterned after the one in the late great Ho Hoi Kitchenette in Malate. A tiny amount of sesame oil helps it along, and I used to add chopped red and white onions to mine, in addition to the green. It’s also great with ground lamb instead of pork.

    Jul 18, 2005 | 1:49 pm

     
  3. joey says:

    All I can say is: That looks great! Another wonderful way to have eggplants! Yahoo :-)

    Jul 18, 2005 | 1:58 pm

     
  4. mojitodrinker says:

    sounds good! just a couple of questions: asian eggplants are the long ones, right? and where does one buy Shaoxing rice wine?

    Jul 18, 2005 | 2:24 pm

     
  5. Marketman says:

    Gosh! All these great ideas. I like the sambal olek concept a lot. When I lived in Indonesia, the eggplants used to be fried or grilled swimming in sambal (a chili paste)and they were delicious. I also really like the lamb idea. Sounds like the perfect stuff to ladle over some couscous. and Yes, these are the longish eggplants. Shaoxing rice wine can be purchased at large groceries or in Chinese grocery stores. If you are not in the Philippines, Asian food stores usually carry it. Thanks all for those comments!

    Jul 18, 2005 | 2:59 pm

     
  6. suzette says:

    i love eggplants! i just fry them and dip it in soysauce with calamansi or chili sauce. simply divine!

    Jul 18, 2005 | 3:14 pm

     
  7. mlq3 says:

    Jul 18, 2005 | 6:06 pm

     
  8. Noel says:

    My first visit here, although have heard about it from other food bloggers for some time now. Great and informative site! nice and easy to do recipes.
    Sana you ahve “low-fat” recipes too.

    Jul 19, 2005 | 1:30 am

     
  9. schatzli says:

    you dont get this thin long eggplant here (aubergine) we hav the dark short rounded ones…

    good cook and chef experiments a lot MM. I like it when you cook and simply call them ala market man.

    Jul 19, 2005 | 5:37 am

     
  10. Maymay says:

    ANG SARAP NAMAM ! NAKAKAGUTOM GRABEEEEEEEEEEEE !

    Jul 21, 2005 | 11:50 am

     
 

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