December 2002 Archives

Eggplant in black bean sauce

Eggplant in black bean sauce

You need:

  • 1 aubergine (eggplant)
  • 80ml oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 piece ginger (about 4cm), chopped
  • 2 medium-sized onions, chopped
  • 2-3 green chillies, chopped
  • 80ml chicken stock
  • 2 teaspoons black pean paste
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 4 spring onions, cut in thin stripes

Slice the aubergine. Carefully heat some of the oil in a frying pan and slowly fry the aubergine slices over very low heat until brown. When all the slices have been fried, put them aside

Heat the remaining oil in the pan, add onions, garlic, chillies and ginger and cook for a few minutes until the onions are transparent. Then add the chicken stock (vegetarians use vegetable stock instead), black bean paste, soy sauce, oyster sauce and fish sauce. Bring to boil and let simmer for 2 minutes. Then add the aubergine slices and let simmer for another 2 minutes. Finally, add the spring onions and serve.

Serve with rice.

White cabbage with ginger and red chillies

White cabbage with ginger and red chillies

Here is the recipe for something I improvised on the spot and to my total surprise I found that it tasted absolutely delicious. It's suitable as a side dish for 4, or as a main dish for 2.

  • 1 white cabbage
  • 1 2-inch piece of ginger root, peeled and chopped
  • 3-5 dried red chillies, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, cut into thin slices
  • ½ cup rice vinegar
  • 1-2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 spring onion, chopped
  • 1 piece of lemongrass
  • salt

Remove the hard outer leaves and the trunk from the cabbage; then cut in quarters and remove the hard bits at the core. Cut into biggish stripes.

Remove the dry outer leaves of the lemongrass and then cut the white part into very thin slices. In a wok or large frying pan, heat the oil and fry the lemongrass, chilies, ginger, and garlic slices for a minute or two over medium heat. Add the spring onion and fry for a few minutes more until the onion becomes transparent, but not brown.

Add the cabbage, stir well for a few minutes, then add the soy sauce, rice vinegar and salt. Stir well, then cover with a lid.

After a short while, the cabbage should lose some water and boil in its own juice. With the lid on, let it simmer for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then taste and add more soy sauce or salt as required. Serve with rice.

I served this as a side dish together with fried tofu and mushrooms, but found that it also works well as a main dish of its own. The amount of chillies can be varied according to taste, but a minimum of three is recommended. If you like a stronger garlic taste, put aside 2 of the cloves, squeeze them with a garlic press, and add the garlic paste to the cabbage together with the rice vinegar. Rice vinegar, by the way, is sweeter and not as sour as normal vinegar, so if you use normal vinegar, you may need to add some sugar and some water.