Friday, August 6, 2010

Chicken, Salted Fish and Eggplant Claypot

Chicken, Salted Fish and Eggplant Claypot
Home Cooking

Can someone please tell me if the idea of chicken, salted fish and eggplant in one dish is weird? Or perfectly sane? I hear about chicken and salted fish combinations quite a bit in Asian eateries but I think it's exactly that: an Asian thing. I can definitely understand if this sounds gross but I've always been attracted to the idea.

I ordered a chicken and salted fish claypot at Shangpaign Kitchen not too long ago but it wasn't anything like I expected. Inspired to do better, my dad came up with this dish.

We buy salted fish in oil and it comes in jar-form so check your local Asian grocery store. Dad says they vary in saltiness so it's important to taste first to get an idea of how much to put.

Chicken, Salted Fish and Eggplant Claypot

Serves 4-5

  • 2 eggplants, skinned and chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1cm cube of ginger, minced
  • 1 piece of salted fish, deboned and torn
  • 100g chicken breast, diced
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • 2 tsp Chinese cooking wine
  • sprinkle of salt
  • chicken stock powder
  • white pepper
  • coriander to garnish

1. Coat the chicken in cornflour, cooking wine and salt. Leave to marinade for a few hours.
2. In a hot wok, seal the diced chicken and set aside.3. Fry the salted fish, ginger and garlic in the same wok with some oil to season the oil. Remove the fish and set aside.4. Add more oil and fry the eggplant. Return the chicken and salted fish to the wok.5. Transfer to a claypot (we just used a casserole dish). Cover with just enough water, lower the heat and simmer for a 2 hours or so or until eggplant is tender.6. Season with chicken stock powder and white pepper.
7. Garnish with coriander and serve with rice.

We left it for too long so the eggplant was complete mush. The result was quite visually unappealing but the dish smelt amazing. This kind of food goes excellently with rice because the flavors are strong and pungent.

Next time, I'd definitely suggest cooking it for less so that there are still distinguishable whole pieces of eggplant. The only thing that was lacking was a bit of textural complexity.

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