When I was living in North Carolina, my Taiwanese friend, Julia, would always invite me to her place to eat and watch Chinese or Japanese drama. I miss Julia's mum's Taiwanese Cooking! One of her signature dish is San Bei Ji(San Bei Chicken). San Bei means 3 cups consisting of 1 cup each of soy sauce, sugar and wine. Another interesting dish she had made was braised pig's ear with fresh cilantro. It took me quite a while to enjoy it.
Living only 1 min drive away from her place, I always invited myself to their place. It was almost like a little Taiwan where everyone spoke Chinese and ate Taiwanese tidbits brought by Julia's mum all the way from Taipei, with the TV playing the recent Japanese drama.
I decided to make my own little Taipei at home with tonight dinner being Soy-Braised Eggplant with Steamed Rice. Soy-braised Eggplant is a Taiwanese local dish. It has both salty and sweet taste just like San Bei Ji. Well, given that my sugar tolerance is rather low, I modified the recipe to a low sugar one with a little hint of star anise.
That night when Ced came home, I went straight to the door, covered both his eyes and led him to the stove area. He sniffed and immediately guessed it was Taiwanese food. Wow, he indeed has the French nose. So sharp! I had never cooked Taiwanese food in my whole life until then. That was my first time making a shoot at Taiwanese food. I could tell my dish was a success immediately without having him taste it.
Taiwanese Stewed Eggplants
4 Asian eggplants, cut into 4 x1 cm strips
1 large onion, sliced
5 tbsp soy sauce
1-2 tbsp sugar, depends on how sweet you like it
5 tbsp Chinese rice wine
1 star anise
3 tbsp corn starch mixed with 1/3 cup of water to a smooth paste
1 cup water
1 tbsp olive oil
salt & white pepper
Heat olive oil over medium heat in a wok. Fry onion and star anise for 2 mins. Add eggplant strips and saute until brown. Stir in soy sauce, sugar, rice wine and 1 cup of water. Let it simmer for 15 mins over low heat. When the eggplants are tender, pour the corn starch mixture over the eggplant while stirring the eggplants continuously. Season with salt and pepper. Serve warm with Steamed Rice.