|Chinese Di San Xian|
Ok, this is the first recipe on this blog: a very popular ‘home’ recipe. :))
It is a veggie dish, in Chinese it is called ‘ Di San Xian’ , literally translated as ‘three fresh vegetable on the ground’. It is a very popular homemade dish in the North East of China. In fact, if you walk into a super posh restaurant (even in ) North East China, you may not find it.
You may only find it in small family run restaurants, it is a popular daily dish, and it is very cheap and very easy to make at home. I would say within 15-18 mins? :)
Aubergine, potato and green pepper
Di San Xian is a mix of stir-fried aubergine, potato and green pepper. It’s called ‘fresh’ in original Chinese name because these three vegetables used to be very seasonal, especially given the very obvious four seasons in the North East of China.
However, these vegetables here (in UK) are slightly different from the ones in China.
Starting with potato , there are lots of varieties on the supermarket shelves, but not all of them are suitable for cooking Chinese food (had lessons before :)). So now I tend to buy “Maris Piper” which will never get you wrong, but whenever I can I would prefer to use ‘New potato’ (let’s talk about it in another post).
The aubergines we normally use in China are much more slender, sometimes I can get them from some Asia vegetable shops. If put side by side with the aubergines that are normally sold in the supermarket, a little distinctive taste can be found, not too much though. And if the aubergines are very fresh, I don’t normally peel them, just wash them properly.
But the green pepper is way more different though, need to adapt when cooking it. I would prefer to use those green peppers with very thin skin, like those ‘Italian green peppers’ sold in the market in Spain. :) They can be cooked very quickly, almost just need to touch the heated oil, so that the original taste and the freshness of the pepper can be kept. Well … we improvise. :)) In addition, I personally also like to put carrots in, for more varieties of nutritious and for the colourful presentation… which might make you tempted to eat, no? :))
Chinese Di San Xian Recipe
Enough talking, let’s start. :))
Vegetables: 2 or 3 medium size potatos , one good size aubergine , (or 3-4 slender ones), 2 small carrots , one green pepper.
oil (veg oil or soy oil) , salt, light soy sauce , rice vinegar , white sugar, cooking wine , corn flour , sichuan pepper powder and 5 (or 13) spices powder (if you don’t have them, you can skip them)
I say it is easy to cook, because it is mainly only three steps: 1) to prepare the vegetables (washing, peeling and chopping); 2) to fry the vegetables; 3) to mix the vegetables with the sauce.
1. Chop potato, aubergine, carrots in cubes (not necessary perfect cube at all :)), and green pepper in slices.
2. Put wok on medium fire, pour vegetable oil in, enough to cover at least 2cm of the bottom of the wok.
3. Put the potato cube in, fry it until the surface turns into a bit gold colour, and the middle is well cooked (not crunchy anymore). Take it out on a plate.
4. Put the aubergine cube in, until the surface of the aubergine absorbs enough oil, and becomes soft because of the heat. Remove it to the plate with potato together. Aubergine is known for absorbing lots of oil when cooking, otherwise it will get dry and burn. So this dish can be a bit ‘greasy’ because of the aubergine. If you want to shed some oil away , there are some tricks you can try: keep aubergines in the wok for a bit longer after it is done, but keep the fire very low, or put the aubergine in microwave for a few seconds, either way, some extra oil can come out, but not totally, as some oil kept in the aubergine can make it taste good) :).
5. Put the carrots and green pepper in the remaining oil, light fry (but if you are using that thin skin type of green pepper, do not put it into the wok with carrots just yet). This can be very quick, so the crunchiness of the carrots and green pepper can be preserved. Then remove them to the plate with the rest of the vegetables.
6. Clean the wok for the next step.
6. In a small bowl, put a tea spoon corn flour in and mix it with water, using a spoon to stir it, until corn flour mixed well with water. Pour a small tea spoon of cooking wine, light soy sauce, one-third tea spoon of salt (maybe, depend your taste), a couple of drops of rice vinegar, and one-third tea spoon of white sugar. Stir well everything together (corn flour can quickly sink to the bottom)
|Mixing the sauce|
7. Put the wok back to the fire, this time the fire can be a bit stronger. Pour a little bit soy oil (or veg oil) in, say around 2 table spoon? :) Put a small pinch of sichuan pepper powder and 5 (or 13) spices powder into the oil (you skip the powders if you don’t have it).
8. Then put all of pre-fried vegetables in, (you can put thin skin green peppers in now). Stir the vegetables well with the sichuan pepper and 5 (or 13) spices powder. Then pour the seasoning and corn flour mix in.
|Adding in the vegetables|
9. Stir everything together, when the liquid in the wok starts showing bubbles, it gets thicker, turn off the fire, remove the vegetables to a plate-– you done!!!
The surface of the vegetables is smooth, all the sauce has been soaked by the vegetables. If you think the aubergine is too soft, the carrots and green pepper just balance it out. It goes very well with plain boiled rice, but because of the ‘greasy’ from the aubergine, I normally prepare a plate of cool dish (Chinese salad?) to go it.
It sounds like.. 9 steps, but really not that complicated, especially when you get used to cooking Chinese. :))
Let me know how it goes? :)