04 February 2009

Chinese Instead of Mexican; Makes Sense, Right?

For several days now I've been wanting to make chicken enchiladas. The corn tortillas and cilantro (don't tell Aogu) that I don't usually keep on hand are even ready to go. So last night, I went into my Quick Recipe book and before I could ever track down the chicken enchilada recipe I was utterly sidetracked by the word EGGPLANT.

Maybe you hate eggplant and don't ever want to cook with it, let alone put it in your mouth. I beg you, keep reading. A friend who ended up eating this dish hates eggplant, and she was utterly fooled into thinking she was ingesting portabella mushrooms. So even for sworn eggplant haters, this is a good dish.

*stir-fried beef and eggplant in oyster sauce (recipe below)
*white rice
*salad of romaine, tomatoes and ranch
*carrots and ranch for the kids

Stir-fried beef and eggplant in oyster sauce, inspired by the source mentioned above, but changed to fit what I had on hand, surprise!
Serves 4

Toss the following in a medium bowl:
3/4 pound beef (the recipe calls for flank steak, I didn't have any so I used a combination of ground beef and turkey meatballs)
2 tsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. cooking sake

In a small bowl, combine:
2 T minced garlic
1 T minced ginger
3 medium scallions, white parts, chopped (reserve and chop the green part to add later)
1 1/2 tsp. oil

Heat 2 tsp. oil in a non stick skillet until very hot. Add the beef and cook until well browned, then transfer to a clean bowl.

Add 1 T oil to the skillet and heat until very hot. Add 3/4 pound eggplant, cut into cubes or circles (I used Japanese eggplants, which are slender and short, so rounds made sense). Cook until browned and no longer spongy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggplant to the bowl with the beef.

Add 1 1/2 tsp. oil to the skillet and heat until very hot. Put in a stemmed, seeded red bell pepper that has been cut into strips (I used a green pepper, red would have been prettier for sure) and cook until crisp tender, about 1-2 minutes.

Clear the center of the pan and add the garlic mixture. Add the beef, eggplant and scallion greens and toss to combine. At this point, the recipe calls for a doctored version of "Oyster Sauce" that one should mix up ahead of time and be able to pour in. I was too lazy to mix it together, so this is what I added directly to the skillet:
3 T cooking sake
3 T bottled oyster sauce
1 T sesame oil
1 T soy sauce
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper

Cook and toss until very hot, serve with rice.

Note: I wanted to serve this the next day at my Bible study lunch, but didn't think I had quite enough to go around. So the next morning, I put some sesame oil in the skillet and stir fried 3 large stalks of celery, sliced, and 7 large white mushrooms, sliced, until they were a bit browned, then seasoned this mixture with a bit of salt and pepper. I returned the rest of the stir fry to the skillet to stir it all together and heat it through. It was even better with the added vegetables!

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