Steamed Eggplant Sauté in Black Bean Sauce with Spring Green Onions and Garlic
The eggplant in this dish cost me a dollar. I got a bag of out-products eggplant from Berkeley Bowl, a supermarket in Berkeley, CA. You can get this similar deal by start visiting local farmer markets and farms near you! You will be surprised how much fresh produce you can get for a few bucks. This dish is light; best to serve with something more flavorful, like a Thai curry.
3 long purple eggplant, diagonally cut into 1 inch thick pieces
3 garlic cloves, chopped finely
1 stalk spring green onion, cut diagonally into small pieces
4 tablespoon black bean sauce
½ tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon sweet dark soy sauce (optional)
1 tablespoon olive oil
a pinch of black peppers
a pinch of sugar (optional)
Bring a steamer to rolling boil, steam the eggplant for about 10-15 minutes. Use a heatproof plate if you don’t own a steamer. Once the eggplant is tender, it will not hold its form very well; remove gently and set aside. Check if the eggplant is cooked by poking it with a fork. Cooked eggplant will change their color to faded purple and has a slight brown tone.
Meanwhile, prepare the seasoning sauce by mixing the black bean sauce, soy sauce, sugar, and black peppers in a small bowl.
Once the eggplant is ready, heat olive oil in medium low heat then add garlic. Maintain this heat consistently so that the garlic won’t burn, but still get cooked.
Add the eggplant. Gently “fold” the eggplant into the sauce until well combined. As you will notice, steamed eggplant does not hold its shape, it will turn into a puree if stirs too often and too hard! Add the green onions and let it simmer for about 2 more minutes. Serve!
All literary works and photos are my original works otherwise stated. They cannot be reproduce in part or in whole unless prior consent from me, or appropriately mention of the source
“Geng Hang Lea,” a Baby Pork Ribs Curry with Homemade Curry Paste. A dish commonly serve in Chaing Mai, Thailand.
Geng Hang Lea, a Baby Pork Ribs Curry. A dish commonly serve in Chiang Mai, Thailand
I’m a nomad. I don’t own a cookbook. A good friend gave me an “Asian” cookbook for my twentieth birthday, and I read through it in one night, sucked out as much knowledge as I could and then gave the book away (to a friend who would take good care of it). For the past few years, I have relied on friends and libraries for cookbooks. It makes sense for my life right now, and keeps me on my toes - always learning new recipes and tweaking old ones.
That said, I found a(nother) great Thai cookbook by David Thompson called Thai Foodduring my last library visit. I skipped most of his introduction and turned right to the recipes I have been eager to learn. One of them is this Geng Hang Lea. I also want to try out his recipes for pickled dishes, Chinese chive cakes, and bitter melon soup. The recipe here is revised and adapted from Thompson’s. Geng Hang Lea is a very popular dish in the north of Thailand, especially Chaing Mai. I lived in Chiang Mai for about five years but never learned how to make this dish so I was very excited to finally try this recipe out!
Thompson calls for pork belly and pork ribs, but my local butcher shop only had pork ribs. I also reduced the portion of many ingredients he calls for, as I often only cook for a few of my friends. My recipe makes 6 servings.
This dish takes a lot of time because we’re making two curry pastes from scratch and there’s about two hours of cooking time on top of that. But don’t be discouraged! Its summer and if you love to cook, picking out a few new dishes to make when you have more time is rewarding! Everyone in my house love this dish and we couldn’t even bring ourselves to throw out the leftover sauce!
PREPARATION: 30 MINUTES COOKING TIME: 1/5-2 HOURS
~1 lb pork ribs ~2 tablespoon vegetable oil ~2 shallots, chopped ~1/2 cup ginger, shredded ~1/2 cup roasted peanuts (optional) ~3 tablespoon palm sugar, dissolved in hot water ~4 tablespoon fish sauce ~4 tablespoon tamarind concentrate ~1 cup stock or water
~10 dried chile de arbol or Thai chili, soaked and seeded ~1 tablespoon galangai, chopped ~6 tablespoon red shallot, chopped ~6 tablespoon garlic, chopped ~6 tablespoon lemongrass, chopped ~2 tablespoon ginger, chopped ~2 tablespoon cumin seeds, roasted and ground ~1 tablespoon coriander seeds, roasted and ground ~3 star anise, roasted and ground ~1 teaspoon cinnamon powder, roasted ~5 cloves, roasted and ground ~2 cardamom pods, roasted and seeds ground ~1 tablespoon red or yellow turmeric powder
Garlic and Ginger Paste:
~4 garlic cloves, peeled ~1/2 teaspoon salt ~4 tablespoon ginger, peeled
Make the curry paste first, and then make the garlic and ginger paste. Preferably using a pestle and mortar, grind all the ingredients together until they produce a nice aroma and pasty texture (as in the picture). To reduce labor and time, a food processor would give you a good paste but it does not bring out the same fragrance because the blades basically only “cut” the herbs. Sometimes, I like to do the “initial” grinding with a food processor and then use my mortar and pestle to “mush” out the flavor.
Cut the pork into smaller pieces between each bone. I had the butcher cut the ribs into three vertical pieces (see the picture below) and then I cut them into small bite size pieces at home. Cold-blanch the pork ribs twice. According to Thompson, the longer the pork takes to reach boiling temperature, the more oiliness and pungency will be cleaned off (and I found this really worked!)
In a large skillet, heat the oil and fry the garlic and ginger paste until golden. Add the curry paste and pork and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the fish sauce, tamarind concentrate, ginger, shallots, peanuts, palm sugar, and a cup of water or stock. Do not add a lot of water! This curry is saucy but not soupy like green or red curry. Stir until all ingredients are mixed well. Let it simmer for about one to two hours and stir occasionally.
Serve with white rice, brown rice, sticky rice, or basmali rice. Have some fresh or steamed vegetables as a side dish. I suggest fresh slices of cucumber, lettuces, snap peas, bell peppers,cabbages, steamed string beans, and steamed eggplant. The paste is strong and flavorful, you can use the vegetables to balance the flavor. The flavor of this dish improve overnight!
Content: All literary works and photos (even if they don’t have my signature) are my original works otherwise stated. They cannot be reproduce in part or in whole unless prior consent from me, or mention of the source. Thank you!
Hello! As promised, I’m back with a recipe for the salmon dish that I made about three weeks ago. Because salmon tastes good by itself, I was worried that adding too much flavor to it would ruin the experience of eating it. It turned out that the flavor of the red curry paste and the peanut butter did not overwhelmed the flavor of the salmon. In fact, you will taste all of the three flavors as they melted away in your mount.
-1 piece salmon fillet
-1/2 tablespoon canola, vegetable, olive oil
-1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk, shake the can before use
-1/2 cup bell peppers, thinly sliced
-1 tablespoon red curry paste
-1 tablespoon peanut butter
-1/3 tablespoon fish sauce
-1 tablespoon minced cilantro
- a wedge of lime
1) In a pan, warm canola or vegetable oil over medium heat, then add the curry paste. Stir until it fragrants.
2) Once they are fragrant, add the coconut milk and peanut butter. Stir until they mix well and wait until the fat (which looks like oil from peanut butter, coconut milk, and canola oil) to settles on the surface. The fat should look like orange oily dots on the surface.
3) Add all the flavors and the salmon! Simmer the salmon in the sauce until cooked.
Its late (4:45am). I just spent an hour writing the recipe to a salmon curry dish that I made for lunch today and I forgot to save it! So I will leave you guys with two mouthwatering pictures for now, and I will come back with the recipe soon!
Any household in Thailand would make fried rice when they found themselves having leftover rice in the fridge. At my house in Thailand, we never cook rice just to make fried rice, and we don’t reheat the rice that was left in the fridge for our meal. I follow the same practice under the mango tree.
Old rice is preferred when cooking Thai-style fried rice. This is because the rice loses some of its moisture (it gets dry!) when left in the fridge, so it absorbs the flavors fully when cooked in a new sauce without turning into “wet” fried rice! Dryer rice also helps to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. The rice grains are looser so they won’t make sticky clumps like fresh cooked rice does.
TIme: 25 minutes
-8 large frozen shrimp, defrost, washed, and deveined
-2 cups cooked rice
-1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
- about 15 basil leaves, roughly chopped
-4 garlic cloves, minced
-1 tablespoon finely chopped bird’s eye chili, jalapeno, basque fryer, or any suitable chili for stir fry, adjust accordingly
-1 small zucchini, diced
-1 tablespoon fish sauce, or adjust according to your liking
-1 tablespoon light or dark soy sauce or more, or adjust according to your liking
-2 tablespoon oyster sauce or mushroom sauce
-1 teaspoon paprika
-wedges of lime (optional)
1) Combine the fish sauce, oyster sauce, soy sauce, and paprika into a small cup.
2) Heat the oil in a wok over medium heat, then lightly cook the garlic and the chili for about 5 seconds until they are fragrant. Do not brown them because it will bring out more of the garlic flavor and that would reduce the basil fragrance.
3) Add shrimp, zucchini, and the sauce that combined in #1. Slightly cook them together then add the cooked rice. Timing is really important in stir-fry dishes, do not try to cook the shrimp and the zucchini all the way now because they will be cooked more when the rice is added.
4) Add the rice and stir continuously. Make sure there are no clumps. Add the basil leaves and stir until everything is cooked and the rice is heated thoroughly. Serve with fresh cut wedges of lime.