When I was a little girl, one of my favorite things to do in my spare time was watching my father cooking. My father is a passionate hobby cook.
Today, I can still picture our relatives and friends of the family sitting at the large round table in our small living room. The table was full of tempting dishes, all of which were conjured up by my father in a short time.
While all the people admired and enjoyed the culinary creations of my father, he was running back and forth between the kitchen and the living room. Each time a dish was completed, he came with a huge plate on the palm (like a waiter) and announced the dish’s name with huge pride.
If any uncle or an aunt made complements about his dishes, he could not hide his pride and satisfaction. Now I know where my passion for cooking comes from.
I can still remember very well that I loved to help my father in the kitchen. Each time he gave me a small task, I was totally excited and took on the task very seriously. They were mostly simple tasks like peeling garlic, cleaning vegetables or just passing him some spices.
While my father was cooking, he always explained to me in detail what he was doing and why. He was like a magician in my eyes. That is understandable. Isn’t it like a magic to turn a few simple ingredients into a nice tasty dish?
One of his favorite dishes was the fried eggplant which was filled with minced meat. Since this dish was quite time consuming to prepare, my father usually only prepared it when we had guests at home. I loved to eat these crispy filled eggplants. Therefore, quite often I tried to persuade my father to conjure this dish when visiting guests were announced.
My father’s version of this dish was without any sauce. I planned this dish as a starter for the last TasteHiker dinner event “Europe meets China“. In my opinion, a fried dish tastes best with a fruity sauce, because the sweetness is the perfect counterbalance to the savory taste. Therefore, I got the idea to make a sauce with the Korean yuzu honey for the crispy filled eggplants.
I really love to use the Korean yuzu-honey paste to sweeten my tea. The sweet taste of honey and slightly bitter taste of yuzu (pomelo in Korean, Youzi in Chinese) harmonizes wonderfully with the green tea. Why not a sauce with this tasty paste? I also added a little of my homemade chili oil and a little lemon juice to the sauce. Oh la la… A wonderful sauce with different taste structures was born !
I was, however, very surprised about the fact how well the French tapenade (black olive paste) goes with this aromatic dish. I could not really decide which combination I liked better. I love these two sauces for this wonderful dish! And I am so happy to add some new note to my favorite dish of my childhood.
Ingredients (4-6 Portions as starter):
For the batter :
100g wheat flour
1g baking powder
100ml cold beer
1 pinch of salt
For the filled eggplant:
150g minced pork
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon rice wine
1 tsp starch
1 tsp water
1 tsp sesame oil
½ tsp salt
Some basil leaves
3 sprigs of thyme
For the yuzu chili sauce:
2 tablespoons Korean yuzu-honey paste (Asia shop)
1 tsp Sichuan chili oil
2 tsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper
For deep frying :
Vegetable oil ( for example rapeseed oil)
Mix the ingredients for the batter together and set aside.
Mix the minced meat with all the spices and the water together, stir well. Marinate in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Mix the ingredients for the yuzu chili sauce together and set aside.
Cut the eggplant into 1.5 cm thin slices and then cut the slices, but do not cut through (the two newly created disks are connected, like a purse ).
Fill each bag with minced meat and eggplant and lightly press flat. Put the filled bag into the batter and cover it evenly.
In a sauce pot, heat the oil to 180 degrees and add the eggplant-bag, deep fry until golden brown and crispy, remove from pot and drain on kitchen paper.
Serve eggplant bag with yuzu chili sauce or French tapenade .