乾煸西季豆和魚香茄子 “Dried Fried Green Beans” and “Eggplants in Garlic Sauce”

These two dishes remind me of 佳音琴行 (Musical World FA Group Ltd.) and 金輝廣場’s food court. Every Sunday, throughout my high school years, my brother and I had music lessons at 佳音琴行. After the lessons, my parents would bring us to 金輝廣場’s food court to have lunch. Usually we were off somewhere else for errands or visiting people, so we did not have time to go home for lunch.

My parents were definitely “Chinese parents” in that our weekends (and sometimes weeknights) were packed with activities. Saturdays consisted of Mandarin school in the morning, art class in the afternoon, and math lessons after that. On Sundays, we had music lessons, and sometimes math lessons will follow or English tutoring. We ate out often when we needed to go from one place to the other. It was also very easy to do so in Scarborough (and inexpensive too).

魚香茄子 literally means fish-flavoured eggplants; however, fish is not used in this dish. In 西川 (Schezuan cuisine), green onion, ginger, garlic, and red chili pepper paired with soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and salt are used to decrease fishy flavours; this is called the 魚香 flavour. The 魚香 flavour is salty, spicy, sour, and sweet all at the same time.

乾煸西季豆 Dried Fried Green Beans

Ingredients
Green beans – I think we had 2-3 cups of it
Ground pork – approximately 1 lb
Salt
1/2 tsp corn starch
1/4 tsp minced ginger
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 tbsp chili bean sauce (辣豆瓣醬)
2 tbsp water
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp soy sauce
*note the proportions of the spices and sauces will change based on how much green bean and ground pork you have

Directions
Mix the ground pork with salt and corn starch. Set aside.

Fry the green beans on high heat until they are a bit brown. Be careful not to burn them. Set aside and drain the oil.

Using the same pan that was used to fry the green beans, cook ginger, garlic, and chili bean sauce over high heat. This is to bring out the aroma of the three ingredients. You don’t have to cook it for long. Mix in the green beans and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the water, sugar and soy sauce. Cook until for a couple of minutes. Serve with rice.

魚香茄子 Eggplants in Garlic Sauce

Ingredients
Eggplants – washed, dried, and cut into chunks (I had about 3-4 small eggplants from Transpire Organic, they weren’t Chinese eggplants but still worked well)
Ginger – approximately 1/2 tsp, minced
1 small onion, chopped
Garlic – approximately 1/2 tsp, minced
Ground pork – approximately 1 lb
2 tbsp rice wine
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sugar
1/3 cup water
Cornstarch – as much as you need to thicken the liquid

Directions
Fry the eggplants (I used canola oil) and set aside. Drain the oil.

In the same pan, fry the ginger, onion, and garlic over high heat. Mix in the ground pork and brown the meat. Add rice wine, soy sauce, sugar, and water. Bring to boil. Add the eggplants and cook for a couple of minutes. Use the corn starch to thicken the liquid. Serve with rice.

These dishes are easy to make in that the sauces can be modified to your taste. I don’t particularly like the frying aspects of these two dishes – too much oil for me. However, I only crave this once in a while, when I am wanting something from my youth-hood.

What are some dishes that remind you of a certain place or certain time of your life?

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