Salted Fish Eggplant Stew (咸鱼茄子煲)
April 29, 2023  Print
In one of my previous posts, Chinese Salted Fish Meat Patty (咸鱼蒸肉饼), I talked about the acquired taste for Cantonese salted fish and how important it was to older generations of Cantonese. Salted fish these days are becoming more like a delicacy rather than a staple for younger Cantonese people.
Today’s post, Salted Fish Eggplants Stew (咸鱼茄子煲) is another popular dish that uses Cantonese salted fish as the major flavoring ingredient. Although you will only see eggplants on the plate, the salted fish flavor comes through with every bite. Also like Salted Fish Meat Patty, Salted Fish Eggplants Stew is another “down the rice dishes (下饭菜),” which makes consuming a large amount of rice extremely easy. It goes extremely well with plain, white rice, so be sure to make some rice when you make this dish.
My husband is growing particularly fond of the salted fish flavor. He says it must be because he’s from Southern China. His opinion is that the eggplants in this dish do a better job of bringing out the salted fish flavor than the meat patties. We both also love to eat garlic, and the garlic pieces in this dish are especially flavorful because they soak up the flavor of the salted fish. These days when I make this, I always add a good amount of extra garlic, which is something you should try too if your garlic tastes are like mine!
Gluten Free, Low Carb
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
- 3 Chinese or Japanese eggplants (~1 lb)
- 1 small salted fish or 1/2 medium salted fish 1
- 3 or more garlic cloves
- a few fresh chili peppers or 1 tablespoon chili sauce (optional) 2
- 1 teaspoon light soy sauce (gluten free soy sauce if gluten intolerant)
- 1 teaspoon oyster sauce (I used Megachef oyster sauce)
- 1 tablespoon water
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 green onion (green part only)
- Wash the eggplants thoroughly (best with a veggie or fruit wash – I get mine from Trader Joe’s). Cut each eggplants into long wedges. Peel and slice the garlic cloves. If using fresh chili peppers, cut the chili peppers into small pieces.
- Rinse the salted fish once and remove the head and bones. Cut it into small pieces.
- Prepare the sauce by mixing 1 teaspoon light soy sauce, 1 teaspoon oyster sauce, and 1 tablespoon of water.
- Heat a large skillet or non-stick pan under medium heat. When the skillet becomes warm, add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Then add the eggplant wedges, making sure there are no overlapping pieces. (You may need to do two batches or you can do it using two pans at the same time.) Lightly pan fry all sides of the eggplant pieces until they become soft, about 5 -10 minutes total. Transfer the eggplant pieces to a plate.
- Heat a wok or stoneware pot under medium-high heat. When the wok or stoneware pot becomes hot, add the rest of the 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Then add the garlic, chili peppers/chili sauce (if using), and salted fish pieces to fry. When the garlic and salted fish turn golden brown, lower the heat to medium-low. Add the partially cooked eggplants from step 4 and the sauce prepared in step 3, gently mixing everything together. Cover with the lid and simmer for 5 more minutes. Turn off the heat after 5 minutes. Sprinkle some green onions on top and enjoy!
- I used half of a medium fermented salted fish here. You can use either fermented salted fish (Mei Xiang Xian Yu 梅香咸鱼) or non-fermented salted fish (实肉咸鱼). Usually they are both labeled in English as “Salted Fish. ”
- If you want some heat, you can add some fresh chili peppers. You can also add 1 tablespoon of your favorite chili sauce here if you don’t have fresh chili peppers.
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