Yen Can Cook ~ Chinese Brinjal with Minced Meat 鱼香茄子
There are various varieties, sizes, shapes and colours of brinjal, but most commonly purple. Also known an eggplant or aubergine, the spongy, absorbent fruit (although often considered a vegetable, it is a berry by botanical definition) is used in various cuisines.
Brinjal undoubtedly, is not a very popular vegetable due to its ‘slimy’ texture and some find it ‘bitter’ to taste. But if it’s cooked well, it can be absolutely delicious. Besides taste, it’s also got a string of healthy properties that might be reason enough to get you to eat it.
Brinjals are rich in fiber and antioxidants which work together to keep cancer at bay. They’re low on calories, carbohydrates and high in fiber. They are good for your heart and could help prevent heart disease. They help control blood pressure as they contains potassium which helps maintain an ideal electrolyte balance in the body.
I love brinjal and I’m glad that it is Sam’s new found love too recently. She requested me to cook her a brinjal dish and this is what I prepared ~ 鱼香茄子, which is one of the representatives of Sichuan cuisine. Literally translated as Fish Fragrance Brinjal, it does not actually contain any fish in this dish. It is a kind of flavor which is quite common in Sichuan dishes. The main flavour comes from the piquant spicy fermented bean paste but I’m using the non-spicy bean paste as Sam cannot take spicy food.
Ingredients (Serve: 2-3)
1 long brinjal
100g minced pork
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons fermented bean paste sauce (spicy/non spicy)
1 bunch of spring onion, chopped (with green and white part separate)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons vinegar
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon cornstarch slurry
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons cooking oil
Step 1: Roll cut brinjal into strips (3 inch length) and try to keep some skin on each one.
Step 2: Mix water, vinegar, sesame oil and sugar in a bowl, set aside.
Step 3: Heat up oil in wok, fry the brinjals for 6-9 minutes until the eggplants become soft and withered. Transfer brinjals out and leave the oil in.
Step 4: Stir fry garlic, spring onion white parts and ginger until fragrant.
Step 5: Add in minced pork and stir-fry until change color. Add fermented bean paste sauce and continue stir fry for 1-2 minutes till fragrant. Pour in mixture (Step 2) and brinjals (Step 3), stir fry and mix well.
Step 6: Add in cornstarch slurry to thicken the sauce. Garnish with chopped green onion (green parts) and serve.