Hangzhou Aubergines – Rou Mo Qie Zi
So it’s been a while since I’ve added any recipes to this blog due to us moving house and Fen chasing me around getting me to buy unnecessarily expensive furniture. Last weekend though I did find the time to take my nose out of the Ikea catalogue and get back into the kitchen. The result? A tasty portion of Hangzhou aubergines.
I have fond memories of the food I ate in the city of Hangzhou, particularly a salted pumpkin dish whose name escapes me, as well as the famous long cun tea I had the chance to try whilst visiting the lush tea fields in Dragon Well village. I never tried rou mo qie zi (肉末茄子) whilst there, but I’ve tried similar variations, included the famous fish-fragrant aubergines – a vegetarian version that’ll I’ll cook another week.
This Hangzhou aubergines recipe is getting on towards the decadent side of things with it’s thick, fermented sauce, oily vegetables, and as much meat as you can manage (I’ve suggesting a scattering of 75g here, but feel free to add more or less to suit your taste – or even remove it altogether and replace water/stock). The deep-frying makes the aubergines wonderfully tender and porous, allowing it to soak up that savoury sauce and taste divine.
Alternatively, if you don’t want to deep-fry the aubergines, you can also brush them with oil then shallow fry them, before pouring the sauce on top. It’s not quite the same, but it will definitely make the health-conscious feel slightly less guilty.
Please note: this dish hasn’t been tested by Fen, as she was snoring on the sofa as I was cooking, apparently being totally exhausted by the act of waiting for food. Incidentally she kept on sleeping even after I had finished cooking and taken the photographs, meaning I had no choice but to gobble down her helping as well as mine. You snooze you lose, unfortunately.
- 400g aubergines
- 350ml cooking oil for deep frying
- 75g minced pork
- 2 tsp chopped ginger
- 1 tbsp sweet fermented sauce (douban jiang)
- 2 tbsp stock
- 1 tbsp shaoxing wine
- 1 tsp light soy sauce
- ½ tsp dark soy sauce
- ½ tsp castor sugar
- ¼ tsp potato flour mixed with 2 tsp cold water
- 2 tbsp finely chopped spring onion greens
- Cut the aubergines into 2cm strips. Sprinkle with salt and leave to drain for 30 minutes
- Heat the oil in a pan an to 180-200°C and deep fry the aubergines until golden. Remove from the pan and set aside
- Drain off the deep-frying oil, wash, then return to the hob. Heat up the 2 tbsp of oil, then stir-fry until cooked
- Add the ginger and stir into fragrant. And the fermented sauce and stir, then add the stock, shaoxing wine, soy sauce, and sugar. Add the aubergines and mix well
- Give the potato flour and water a quick mix then and pour slowly into the centre of the pan whilst stirring. Add the spring onions, stir, then serve
Original recipe by Fuchsia Dunlop