Posts Tagged ‘eggplant’

  1. Made in Jiānádà: Homestyle porky Eggplant (家常茄子)

    July 11, 2012 by MaryAnne

    We took ours camping. It reheats very well in a cast iron fry pan over a propane camp stove. Just so you know.

    Eggplant (茄子 or qiézi) was one of the first words I learned in Mandarin back in early 2009, partly because we ordered it so often that it inevitably had to stick in my head, and partly because it sounded like a hybrid between cheese and chaise (as in longue). Kind of like ch’yay’zuh.

    Except not really.

    If you are anything like me, your tones will be so inconceivably wrong that you could say it every day for three years and still only get it right half the time.

    And I do get practice saying it. We eat spiced deep fried eggplant slices, stewed umami eggplant fingers with sizzling red and green peppers, dry fried green beans with long melty lengths of lightly spiced eggplant with just a hint of pork crumble. At home, I’ve baked it and fried it and breaded it.

    When I lived in Turkey, I lived on it.

    And the thing is, until a decade ago, I thought I hated eggplant. I loathed it, in fact. It was on the list of things I told people I didn’t like, alongside all sorts of fungus and organ meats.

    What I failed to realize, however, was that 1. I just hated those big spongy bitter eggplants normally sold in Canada and 2. I hate big spongy chunks of poorly prepared eggplant.

    Those little tiny thin Asian and Turkish purple-black eggplants, properly sauteed or baked slowly and drizzled in olive oil? Those I like.

    This recipe is astonishingly easy to pull together and really quite tasty, even for those who think they hate eggplant. It’s not at all spongy and it’s not at all bitter. It tastes even better, reheated over a propane camp stove three days later, eaten plain with a spoon in little unbreakable bowls in the wilds of Vancouver Island.

    This is, as the name says, simple homestyle eggplant (家常茄子 – jiācháng qiézi). This is comfort food. (more…)

  2. 5-Spice Qiézi: Fun with Aubergines

    November 4, 2011 by MaryAnne

    Everything you could ever need is here. Except the egg. Whoops.

    I should be trying to sleep right now. It’s nearly 10pm and I have an 8am train to catch tomorrow morning, whisking me off to the glittering metropolis of Hefei, the esteemed capital city of Anhui province which is about four hours away. A weekend of work awaits me there. The first time I went there about two years ago, there were hay bales on the train platform and rusty motorized tricycle taxis waiting outside the station.

    With this in mind, I’m going to keep this one brief, to tide you over until I come back Sunday night.

    First of all, I’m famous! Well, semi-famous. Famous in Shanghai, if anyone bothers to read the Dining Out section of Shanghai Talk magazine.  After barely two months of existence, Wok With Me, Baby  was inexplicably chosen to be featured alongside the highly esteemed Life On Nanchang Lu in a glossy monthly that’s actually worth reading for the articles (really!).

    Look! I’m the one right there in the middle!

    Next come the mansions and descent into cocaine madness!

    But enough about me. You need something to eat while I’m away for the weekend doing unmentionable things in Hefei. I’m going to show you something that’s really really easy and really versatile.

    Can I call it Eggplant Parmesan if the parmesan is optional and it contains Sichuan peppercorns and 5 Spice powder? I’m open minded if you are. Let me show you what I’ve made three nights in a row to go alongside dinner (Chinese tacos! Using Lady Noodle dough tortillas!). They’re that good. (more…)

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