Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Aubergine Box

2 medium Aubergines, peeled unless you have found very beautiful ones
For the stuffing:
300g minced pork
2 spring onions, washed, cut into strips, then finely chopped
2.5tso finely chopped ginger
1tsp rice wine
3 pinches of sea salt
1dssp light soy sauce
1dssp cornflour
1 egg white
Light soy sauce
Chinese cooking rice wine
White caster sugar
Warm water from the kettle
1 spring onion, washed and finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped

First make the stuffing. Mix the pork, 2 of the chopped spring onions, and the chopped ginger together very thoroughly in a bowl. Add the following ingredients, one by one: Rice wine, sea salt, soy sauce, cornflour. Next add the egg white and mix again thoroughly.

Peel the eggplants. Begin to cut a circular slice about 1/4 inch thick, but don’t slice all the way through. Next, make another round slice about 1/4 inch thick, but do slice all the way through. Now you have a half inch slice, that opens up, but is still held together on one end. Do this with all of the Aubergine. Put a heaped tsp of stuffing into each “box”, flattening the mixture evenly like butter. Close the box, and put them on a plate, ready for cooking.
Turn the heat up to high, and heat the wok till it’s hot. Add 2tbsp oil and turn the heat down to medium high. When the oil is hot, add the aubergine boxes, as many as will fit in one layer. After 1-2 minutes the boxes should be brown and toasted on the bottom. Remove from the wok and add 2 more tbsp oil. Cook for another 2-3 minutes on the other side, till brown and soft. Cook them all this way, one layer at a time. Then turn the heat to low, and put all the aubergines back in the wok. Add the soy sauce, rice wine, sugar and 2tbsp warm water from the kettle. Allow the ingredients to simmer on a medium low heat for 5 minutes. Add the remaining spring onion, and the garlic and continue to simmer. Add one more Tbsp water and cover the wok with a lid and simmer for 2 more minutes.

These were actually incredibly easy to make. The cutting and stuffing was no problem at all, and I made them a bit in advance and left them in the fridge till I needed them. That was also no problem. I only did it about an hour before cooking them, but in the future I would feel confident assembling them in the morning and cooking them in the evening if need be. The cooking took very little time start to finish. I had to start with two batches, but they all fit into one pan for the final stages of cooking.

I cannot say enough good things about these, they were wonderful. The flavor and the texture all came out perfect. I saw another version of this recipe in another book, where they made these, and then dipped them in batter and deep fried them. I may try that too someday, but I don’t know, it would be hard to pass up a chance to make them this way. I will make these again and again.

I got this recipe from an odd book. It is a memoir called Music, Food and Love. It’s this man’s story about growing up in China, and being a musician, and then in the back, he also has a collection of recipes from his childhood. Cool book. This recipe rocked!

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