I was just thinking to start my whole Chinese food summer recipes, but, today… cloudy, raining, no sun… :( I just try to think it is summer cloud, summer rain — then, it is romantic to have days like this in hot summer, no? :)))
Today, it is another aubergine dish — if you are not bored of aubergine already. :) It is not oil fried, so I think .. it is much lighter? Good for warm days.
Don’t know if you have noticed, or if it is same as where you shop, the aubergines we can get at the market or in the supermarkets around us are much fresher these days, but much smaller compared to before– price stayed the same though. :)) I like these ones, without much ‘seeds’ inside, tastes better.
This dish is a very ‘homey’ one, called ‘la chao qie si’ in China, literally ‘spicy stir fried aubergine strips’. I ‘rediscovered’ it in my northeast recipe book, which only time to time I flip over, then all the memories came back. I do remember my auntie and my parents made it. It is definitely not a fancy dish, so I don’t think our friends tried it when they dinned here as guests. But hey, if you are not in a mood for having oily dishes these days, this is a perfect choice.
Aubergines are shredded and stir-fried: no need to oil fry or steam the aubergines first. It is ‘quicker’ and ‘fresher’. But this way really makes a difference in terms of texture and taste, I feel I could almost taste the little tiny bits of spices from the orginal aubergine. Because of the nature of the aubergine, without frying or steaming first, the taste can be very plain, and the seasonings are not very easy to go in. So I put in a lot of garlic and a bit of five (/thirteen) spice powder, also added a little bit chilli in, but it is only for enriching the flavor, the dish is not very spicy.
Shredded aubergines are stir fried in the wok, but the fire needs to be kept as medium, since the aubergines normally need to take time to get soft, we need avoid to get them burnt, some water is added in gradually.
If you like, you can also add some shredded potato as well.
Aubergines (I used two aubergines)
Garlic, five spice powder, light soy sauce, cooking wine, crushed chilli, oil, salt, water, vegetable/mushroom/chicken essence or MSG (optional).
1) Chop the aubergines into thin strips. I left the skins on, since it is very fresh, but did wash thoroughly.
2) Chop around 4 garlic gloves.
1) Place the wok on strong fire first, when the wok is hot, pour in around 3-4 tablespoons of oil.
2) Then add in chopped garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of crush chilli, 1 tablespoon of cooking wine and 1/2 teaspoon of five spice powder.
3) When the smell of the garlic comes out, turn down the fire to medium, and put chopped aubergines in the wok, quick stir well, allow the aubergine strips in contact with oil evenly. (Aubergine can absorb oil very quickly, so from now on, the wok is quite dry — be careful.)
4) Add in 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, 2/3 teaspoon of salt, and 2 or 3 tablespoons of water (if the inside of the wok is too dry, but not too much water though, coz in the end, the dish is a ‘dry’ dish.)
5) Until all of the aubergine strips are soft, but not totally ‘mashy’, add 1/2 teaspoon of vegetable/mushroom/chicken essence or MSG (optional), or remove it from the wok.
Good to have it with boiled rice.