First of all, thank you, Saveur editors, for including my blog in your Worldwide Feast: 55 Great Global Food Blogs. That really made my day. My friend Joel kind of pre-empted Saveur by two weeks with a crystal-ball like post but all of them — Saveur editors and Joel — did such a nice job in making food bloggers, myself and Marketman included, feel special. Thank you.
Secondly, I remember giving an interview for an article in Food Magazine and I heard from a cousin that the article is in the magazine’s anniversary issue that just came out.
That’s enough announcements.
This dish, cooked last weekend, was borne of an attempt to “extend” a small amount of pork mixture left over from making two batches of fried dumplings — like this and this. The girls were home, Sam likes to have at least one dish with eggplants over the weekend and this was my surprise for her. She so loved it that she immediately asked if I had set aside enough for her to bring back to the condo. I said I did. But that portion that I set aside got eaten on the night of the blackout when typhoon Pedring was lashing through the country. I was so afraid that the food in the fridge would spoil that I reheated everything that was edible and we had them all for dinner.
Pardon me for talking about typhoons again but I can’t get them out of my mind. There’s another one, the news say we’ll feel its presence by tomorrow morning and the girls are still at the condo. Unless classes are suspended tomorrow, they will have to be in school until the afternoon. If this new typhoon (local codename “Quiel”) brings as much rain as its predecessor, as predicted, well, I just wish that the girls were home with us.
- 1 cup pork dumpling filling
- 3 eggplants (the long kind, Asian variety)
- 6 to 8 shiitake mushrooms
- 2 cups cooking oil
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 1/2 ccup diced red onion
- 3 to 4 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 1 to 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- drizzle sesame seed oil
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
- finely sliced scallions to garnish (I used cilantro but, on hindsight, I just know that scallions would have been the better choice)
Cut off the tops of the eggplants. Split each one into halves vertically then cut into half-inch slices.
Pull off the stems of the shiitake and discard as they are much too tough and woody. Quarter the caps.
Heat the cooking oil in a wok or frying pan. When it starts to smoke, add the eggplants and fry for just 30 seconds. They will continue to soften in the residual heat do don’t wait for them to turn soft. When they start to brown, scoop them out (a spider is useful) and drain on a stack of paper towels. By cooking the eggplants separately, you’ll avoid the risk of overcooking them which is easy to do when they’re cooked together with other ingredients that require different lengths of cooking time.
Pour off the oil in the wok until only about a tablespoonful remains.
Reheat the oil. Drop in the pork mixture by small pinches. Stir fry until lightly browned. Add the garlic, ginger, onion and shiitake. Stir fry for about 30 seconds.
Return the eggplants to the wok or frying pan. Pour in the oyster and hoisin sauces, and the sesame seed oil. Stir fry just until the eggplants are heated through.
Turn off the heat. Taste and add salt and pepper, as needed.
Transfer the stir fry to a platter. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and sliced scallions. Serve hot with rice.