I guess it is normal that you have to go through changes in life, as different stages of life require different things.
I actually like changes … small changes though, like moving around the furnitures in the house, redecorate the rooms, change the style of the cloth by own sewing machine, oh, and changing different dishes to cook everyday… — I don’t like to face the same thing or have the same taste everyday.
But … I don’t really like changes, I cannot bear with the fact that things are changing. For example, our lovely neighbour friend just moved back to France. I could not face her now empty parking lot and the flat without that warm dim lights. Or now we have to move house ourselves, move to a new area…
Somehow I always remember when I was in primary school, and I had to change school twice. The first time, it was because the whole school was divided, I remember the day when the new teacher came and led some of us to the new school, I could not stop crying all the way to home. The second time, I had to change to another school since my parents moved house. When I was led into my new classroom, everyone was sitting there quietly already, the teacher came to me, let me stand in front of the class, and introduce myself, I was so nervous, didn’t know if I could hear my own voice, I guess I was biting my lips tightly, wished I could just go back to where I was before — I always hate that situation so much, and have to make new friends. I like to have friends forever, never change…
—- Change has never been my thing. … I know you are going to ask, ‘then how did you make the decision of coming to England? — It is a big huge change!’ — I know… I remember that summer afternoon, after knowing that I got visa and everything was prepared already for me to leave home, I lied down on the bed, tears flooded my summer bamboo sheet…
So I guess you are not surprised by me cooking those dishes that accompanied me growing up for many many years. However, somehow, I find difficult to taste it as it was before. I always think it is because the ingredients, seasonings and even the wok itself here in England are different to what I had before. So whenever I go home (back to China), I would ask my dad to cook exactly like before, as if that taste can bring back the time without any changes ever took place…
Here is another recipe that I grow up with — a very ‘homemade’ recipe, aubergine cooked in soybean paste sauce.
My husband always tells me that I should try to share recipes with more ‘easy to buy’ ingredients / seasonings. So even I like this dish so much, I never really talked about it before, simply because the soybean paste was not easy to get. But lately, I could find in many Chinese, or far east supermarkets. So I guess, it is not only me can make it often, but you can try too. :)
It is actually really easy to cook — fry the aubergine, then stir fry it in soybean paste. It is really tasty, but… but unfortunately, it is a bit oily. Ok, do not have it everyday then. :)
Here you go how it is made.
Aubergine (I used two big aubergines. The best aubergine for this recipe is probably the slim purple aubergine. In fact, when preparing it, you don’t have to peel it or chop it into strips, rather, just hold the green ‘bottom’ part, and use the knife to slice the purple body into strip. It then will be beautifully presented in the plate. :) But here in the photos I used the normal ‘fat’ ones as I could easily get them from the market.)
Oil, soybean paste, garlic, ginger, spring onion, sugar, cooking wine, sesame oil, coriander (both optional)
1) Slice the aubergine into long strips.
2) Chop around 3 gloves garlic, a small piece of ginger, and half of spring onion into small pieces.
1) Fry aubergine strips in oil. (I really don’t know if there is another way of doing it, otherwise, I would try to avoid so much oil — but just think it will be very tasty. :)) If you are using the slim purple aubergines with skins on, it is even good to slightly burn the skin, the taste is really unexpected. :)
2) Sit the wok on strong fire, pour in around 1-2 tablespoons of oil.
3) When oil is hot, add in chopped ginger, garlic and spring onion. Stir fry them until the fresh smell of them rising up from the wok.
4) Then add in 1-2 tablespoons of cooking wine. (If you like, you can add it later after adding the soybean paste, as at this stage, it might have lots of hot spill – be careful.)
5) Add in 2-3 big tablespoons of soybean paste, 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. Stir fry it with the rest of ingredients in the wok. Then add 1/4 cup of water if it is needed. (– to avoid making the sauce too dry.)
6) When the sauce is bubbling up in the wok, put fried aubergine back to the wok, quickly stir fry it.
7) Add in a handful fresh coriander and a few drops of sesame oil (optional). (Coriander is good to help with fresh taste especially after aubergine being fried.) —
If you like, you can add some other vegetables to go with aubergine, for example, green peppers. Here are some photos.
It goes very well with boiled plain rice or beer.
In fact, soybean paste sauce is a quite common sauce in northeast cuisine. If you can, try to make it at home, rather than buy the ones ‘ready-to-use’ in the supermarkets, they taste totally DIFFERENT! :))
Hope you are enjoying / enjoyed the long holiday weekend. :)
- Two big aubergines
- Soybean paste
- Spring onion
- Cooking wine
- Sesame oil
- Slice the aubergine into long strips.
- Chop three gloves garlic, a small piece of ginger, and half of spring onion into small pieces.
- Fry aubergine strips.
- Sit the wok on strong fire, pour in 1-2 tablespoons of oil.
- When oil is hot, add in chopped ginger, garlic and spring onion. Stir fry them.
- Add in 1-2 tablespoons of cooking wine.
- Add in 2-3 big tablespoons of soybean paste, ½ teaspoon of sugar. Stir fry it with the rest of ingredients in the wok. Then add ¼ cup of water if needed.
- When the sauce is bubbling up in the wok, put fried aubergine back to the wok, quickly stir fry it.
- Add in a handful of coriander and a few drops of sesame oil.