made fried eggplant with minced pork 鱼香茄子…. for teban gardens community breakfast this morning on 9.11.2018.^^
this my 75th friday breakfast community meal dish at teban gardens community service centre.
the centre was started in 2002 after much effort & challenge by our RI friend who is a pastor of pasir panjang hill brethren church (pphbc) which owns & runs the CSC.
meeting yong siu for breakfast kopi afterwards at 8.30am so got to deliver this earlier to teban gardens. 🙂
the challenges of cooking a dish for 140pax older folks i had well documented.
basically i prepare dishes with no bones which ruled out whole fish. so i had done deboned fish fillet and deboned chicken, but it is much easier and cheaper to do frozen bonelss chicken leg (thigh+drumsticks), and this became my default dish, whether as chinese wine chicken, curry chicken, nonya chicken, chicken with carrots & potatoes etc. an alternative is frozen belly pork. that cost more and less healthy and neutral c/w chicken. the lesser option is frozen zutchi fish fillet. that has a bit of “chow chay” taste which can be musked by HK steam or teriyaki (basically the dry version of HK steam).
so this week i though i try eggplant with minced pork 鱼香茄子.
i never do this dish before so are many unknowns.
another challenge of turning out a dish and deliver by 8.30am to 8.45am of course is the preparation required. so i decided to cut the eggplants (about 1.2kg) the night before, cleaned with salt and soaked in salt water & added lemon juice for a while & drained dry in a colander in the fridge overnight. the first unknown being i was not sure if the cut egg plant will oxidise & changed colour, and the lemon juice was to help retain the colour.
next morning i removed the egg plant from the fridge & it was generally ok.
eggplant with minced pork 鱼香茄子 generally required deepfry though some recipe just fry it. i think some firmness and crispiness give it a better texture. i hate deepfry as i don’t know what to do with the oil afterwards very wasteful, so i did shallow-fry. the second unknown. 🙂
i added corn flour and 2 egg yolks and mixed the egg plant with my hands thoroughly.
i poured a thin layer of oil and heat the oil like for deepfrying, turned to medium high heat. and added the egg plants in 2 batches. first batch turned and fried thoroughly and immediately the second batch and fried the whole thing thoroughly on medium high heat.
timing is agaklogy. i tasted one piece it was ok, cooked, firm enough, not wilted. i removed and set aside.
the traditional sichuan recipe does not require salted fish. somehow the chilli mix produces the 鱼香. i didn’t comprehend that but some recipe uses salted fish. i thought that’s what i want to do – so that’s the 3rd unknown.
so i add just little oil, fried 1 cut chilli padi, 1.5 sliced of salted fish and 3 tsp of chopped garlic, then returned the egg plants and fried/mixed thoroughly, maybe 30secs. then set aside.
now i fried the 1.5kg minced pork.
this has to be thoroughly cooked and minced pork can be dry & tough.
i added 3 tbsp oyster sauce and 3 tbsp corn flour, which helped the minced pork to remain smooth. i didn’t add fish sauce as the egg plant was salty enough with the salted fish.
& the minced pork turned out nicely, remained smooth and moist, maybe also because i sued the cheaper more fatty minced pork.
i returned the egg plants to the wok and mixed thoroughly.
i tried a bit.
actually i think it was delicious. ^^
sidetracking = i took out a small portion for my brother yong siu. this the 4th time we meeting for kopi since his retirement on 30.9.2018. he finished all of it together with 2 toast and yuan yang. i just took my regular kopi c gosong tilok.
today i had to wake up just a little earlier, 6.40am instead of 7am to prepare the dish. i managed to deliver to teban gardens in good time, and arrived at my brother’s block before 8.30am for our morning kopi session.