FISH FRAGRANCE EGGPLANT -- 魚香茄子 -- IMAGINE WHAT A FISH WOULD TASTE LIKE
Scallion, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, hot bean paste, and black vinegar.
Plus, in its native place, chili peppers.
Here in San Francisco it's soul food. It's what you eat over rice when you don't really feel like anything too complicated or fussy, and really would rather surreptitiously listen in on other people talking.
You'll sit at the counter, hunkered over your meal, adding spoons full of chilipaste to your plate, with ears agog.
It's the perky man's dinner.
魚香茄子 YÜ HEUNG KE JI
Two Chinese eggplants, cut into thick strips.
Two garlic cloves, minced.
Equivalent amount of ginger, ditto.
One scallion, also minced.
One fresh hot pepper, likewise.
Two TBS sherry or rice wine.
One TBS 豆瓣酱 ('dau-baan jeung': hot bean paste).
One TBS soy sauce.
One TBS fragrant black vinegar*.
A dab of chili-garlic sauce.
A pinch of sugar.
A few drops of dark sesame oil (芝麻油 'ji maa yau') or chili-oil (辣椒油 'laat chiu yau').
[Fragrant black vinegar: 鎮江香醋 ('jan-gong heung-cho': a flavourful dark rice vinegar produced in Jiangsu (江蘇 'gong sou') province, south-central China.
FYI: Great for dipping dumplings.]
Heat oil in the pan to almost the smoking point, toss in the eggplant pieces and cook on high briefly, flipping and overturning them as you go.
Clear some space in the pan, add a little more oil, and dump the garlic, ginger, scallion, and chili in this space. Stirfry till the fragrance rises and the garlic is golden. Mix everything and continue, stirring and tossing as you go. Add everything else, stir to mix well, and decant it all to a serving plate.
You may dump a little more chopped scallion or cilantro on top for an artistic effect, but that really isn't necessary.
Rice to accompany it is.
Rice, and tea.
Watch out for middle-aged white men eating by themselves, my dear. They're actually listening in on you and your kinfolk having a fine old time with that nice steamed fish and the black bean crab.
BTW: 我識講廣東話。Just so you know.
Forewarned is foretongued.
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