Before you read the post, I seek you kind understanding and not to argue whether there should be any salted fish in the the dish.. While I knew they may be regional variation but throughout my dining experience of this dish in Cantonese restaurants, I can’t remember tasted anything fishy like salted fish etc.
I have looked through many Chinese recipes and most of the recipe calls for any salted fish .. The confusion possibly because of the Chinese wording “鱼香“ literally translated as “fish aroma”.. As you will read later, this is a standard sauce originally prepare for the cooking of seafood but now extended to many Sichuan dishes and Hunan dishes and some speculated that the old name of “鱼香” is actually “豫湘“ representing the Henan and Hunan Provinces of which the sauces originates.
As per Wikipedia:
“Yuxiang (simplified Chinese: 鱼香; traditional Chinese: 魚香; pinyin: yú xiāng; literally: “fish fragrance”) is a seasoning mixture in Chinese cuisine, and also refers to the resulting sauce in which meat or vegetables are cooked. It is said to have originated in Sichuan cuisine, but has since spread to other regional Chinese cuisines. Proper preparation of the yuxiang seasoning includes finely minced pao la jiao, white scallion, ginger and garlic. They are mixed in more or less equal portions, though some prefer to include more scallions than ginger and garlic. The mixture is then fried in oil till fragrant, then adding water, starch, sugar and vinegar to create the basic sauce. Despite the term literally meaning “fish fragrance” in Chinese, yuxiang contains no seafood, is typically not used in seafood, but rather for dishes often containing beef, pork, or chicken, as well as vegetarian recipes “ (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yuxiang)
When one talked about eggplant recipes in Chinese household or restaurant dishes, most will thought of this dish. It is such a common dish in Sichuan and Cantonese restaurant resembling the Kangkong belachan in Chi Char stores. The brinjal are soft, sauces or gravy are a bit spicy with some bits of minced meat. Most of the time, fermented soya beans was used in the preparation.
As for the brinjal, in order to preserve the colour, you can either deep fried in hot oil with the face facing down for 2-3 minutes or you can used water blanch method as I have shared with you in this post: Chinese Eggplant Salad (凉拌茄子）
Per Chinese Wikipedia:
“鱼香茄子是一道常見川菜。魚香是川菜主要傳統味型之一。成菜具有魚香味，但其味並不来自魚，而是泡红辣椒、葱、薑、蒜、糖、鹽、醬油等調味品調制而成。此法源出於四川民間獨具特色的烹魚調味方法，而今已廣泛用於川味的熟菜中，具有鹹、酸、甜、辣、香、鲜和濃郁的葱、薑、蒜味的特色。魚香茄子的主料為茄子。配料為豬肉、泡红椒、薑、蒜等適量。調味料：食用油、豆瓣酱、鹽、醋、糖等各適量。 製作時，先將茄子切片，小火煸軟，盛出備用。豬肉切成肉末，翻炒後備用。然後，鍋内倒入適量食用油，加葱、薑、泡椒翻炒，待炒出香味後放入豆瓣酱，炒至七分熟時將煸好的茄子和肉末下鍋，稍稍炖煮，最後臨出鍋時勾芡即完成。” (Source: https://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E9%AD%9A%E9%A6%99%E8%8C%84%E5%AD%90)
WHAT IS REQUIRED
Servings: 4-6 adults
3 small eggplants or 1 normal egg plants
5 chilli padi , chopped
50 grams of minced meat
10 grams of black fungus, soaked and cut into stripes (optional)
50 grams of bamboo shoots, cut into thin stripes (optional)
1 tablespoon of minced garlic
1 tablespoon of minced ginger
1 tablespoon of fermented soya beans or Szechuan spicy fermented soya beans
2 teaspoons of light soya sauce
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 teaspoon of black vinegar
Seasonings such as mushroom concentrate or chicken stock to taste
1 tablespoon of corn starch mixed with 3 tablespoons of water
2 tablespoons of red chilli oil (optional)
Note: I have totally omitted these chilli padi and chilli oil as I am cooking for my kids.
STEPS OF PREPARATON
Cut the egg plant into quarter and your desired length. Set aside.
In a pot, put adequate water enough to cover the egg plant. Bring to boil. Once it boils, add the egg plant and quickly using something heavy to press the egg plant such that all the eggplants were submerged in the hot water. Blanch for 7-8 minutes. Transfer out to a pot of icy cold water. Let it soaked in the cold water for 2-3 minutes. Take out and placed on the serving plate. Alternately, you can use deep fried the egg plants in hot oil for 2-3 minutes.
In a pot, put two tablespoons of cooking oil or chilli oil, sauté the minced garlic, minced ginger, chopped chilli and fermented soya beans until fragrant. Add the minced meat and stir fry for 1-2 minutes until the flavour incorporated. Add the bamboo shoots, shredded black fungus and blanched egg plant. Stir fry for 2-3 minutes. If it is too dry, you can add some water to facilitate the stir frying. Add the starch solution, seasoning, sugar and black vinegar. Stir fry until the sauce thickens. Off the heat and best let it rest in wok before serving.
if you feel that the dish must add salted fish, go ahead and add to the dish. My humble understanding is that this concoction of seasonings and herbs were initially used to cook seafood especially fish in Sichuan cuisines ..However, it was extended to the cooking of non-seafood dishes including vegetables or even meat stripes. Let’s not argue about that and without salted fish, the taste also blend well. In the event you add salted fish, you have to increase the sugar amount as both salted fish and fermented soya beans are salty..
Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have a nice day.
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2 thoughts on “Brinjal Clay Pot Stew or Sichuan Braised Eggplant (鱼香茄子煲）”
Bought all the ingredients. Tonight cooking this for family! Thanks for the inspiring recipes!
hope it suits your tastebuds