Every week before I buy groceries, I ask my kids and husband if they are hungry for anything in-particular. Every week, they say “no” then are complaining on Wednesday about nothing to eat. Then I go into a long spill how there is this and that and blah blah blah. Most of the time, it is pure laziness cause I have spaghetti sauce made and all that needs to be done is boil noodles. Or, they don’t feel like going into the garage to get something to heat up. I do admit, sometimes it is because my teen daughter probably just doesn’t like what I have prepared. To that, I remind them, “I asked you if you wanted me to make you anything in-particular. You should have spoken up. You can’t live on fast food”. It doesn’t happen as often anymore. She is tired of hearing my reply over and over I am sure just as much as I am tired of saying it. Or, she will go to Greg and ask if we can go out to eat. He always says yes to her. LOL! And, I have been known to send Jordan to ask him if we can go out to eat if I am tired of eating leftovers for the week.
However, this week Greg asked me if I would make “shrimp stuffed eggplant like Fung’s”. For a foodie like me this made me very excited. One, that he finally gave me input. Two, cause it was a challenge. We have only been to Fung’s Kitchen twice. If you live in HOuston and have never been, you have to go on a weekend. They have carts of dim sum they just roll around and you grab them as they pass. There is also Steamed Chicken feet (in clear bowls mind you) and even pig snouts. It is an experience if you have never seen such things. For me, my first time was also the first time I had even tasted dim sum so I really enjoyed it.
Since I had never tasted Dim Sum, Greg told me to order something off the menu “just in case” I don’t like Dim Sum. At that time, we were still dating so he was very worried about me enjoying all these new experiences. Remember, I am a country girl…………… Asian food was still fairly new to me so I ordered Eggplant of course. I love Eggplant! Then you add some shrimp and that has to equal the “Big O” inside your mouth right? It was awesome!!! However, it has been at least five years since we have visited Fung’s so when he requested this, I had to use my brain and remember the exact way it was. I googled “Shrimp stuff eggplant” and came up with numerous options. I am much better with pictures so this picture resembled what I remembered the most. http://www.pinterest.com/offsite/?token=940-97&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwhataboutsecondbreakfast.blogspot.com%2F2010%2F11%2Fmoms-shrimp-stuffed-eggplant.html&pin=268808671483903937
This was how many eggplants I started with. They are the Japanese Eggplants which sometimes are difficult to find but will be at any Asian Grocery store. Of course, the closest one to me is all the way in China town so I make sure to have a few planted in my garden every year. They produce a lot as well!
Now the cutting was quite tricky. The recipe I was following did have a few pictures though so I had to keep checking it out. Just gets tiring on my little 3 inch phone screen so It is hard to see exactly how to do it. Thankfully, I had quite a few eggplants. Btw, I was doubling this recipe. Since some of these are small, I think I ended up using like nine of them. I did have left over filling though which was very disappointing. I hated throwing away Shrimp! In her blog, she also explains how to make Dim Sum so you could easily use the shrimp stuffing to make your own. You would just need to buy the little Won Ton wrappers.
Here they are cut. Trial and Error people Trial and Error 🙂 I loved this Challenge!
At this moment, it was very hard not to “play with my food”
Now, the blog does not mention soaking the eggplants in salt water before hand. When using regular eggplant, all the recipes I am usually doing says you need to soak the eggplant in salt water for about 30 minutes so it won’t be bitter. I do know when you just normally “fry it up in a pan” (Dynomite moment there) you cannot taste a difference. I still always soak Japanese eggplant just in case. It isn’t like this is a difficult stage anyway.
While those were soaking, I made my shrimp stuffing. I just used frozen de-veined shrimp that was already pilled. Yes, it was the lazy version. Since I didn’t know exactly what I was doing and my memory wasn’t the best, I didn’t want to buy fancy shrimp at 9.00 a pound ecspecially since I was doubling the recipe.
My stupid logic: I had all these eggplant I had to use. I can’t waste these FREE eggplant so I have to spend all this money on shrimp to use ALL of them. If it doesn’t turn out, at least I didn’t waste any food. Yes, I shake my head at myself too. Don’t worry. I have been known to go spend $15 dollars on stuff to make a particular dessert to save the two apples that are on the verge of going bad so I won’t be wasting them.
The recipe says to lay them out and smash them. I tried that. I got my cutting board out and spread the shrimp out on it. I covered the shrimp with saran wrap and started beating it with my meat tenderizer. After several shrimp flew from under the wrap, I decided this wasn’t a bright idea. I opted on putting it in the food processor since the directions said to cut the shrimp after beating it anyway. Took ten seconds!
I also put the 1 tsp pepper, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1 tsp cornstarch in with the shrimp at this time. Remember now, I am doubling the recipe so the ingredients are doubled if you’re comparing it to the “real” version.
They remind me of Cookie monster. 🙂 You can tell by looking at first they were straight edged then I started getting my diagonal technique down eventually like she originally shows.
At this point the clouds separated and Angels sang in my head!!! I finally remembered what the eggplant looked like at Fungs. It was just like this but was fried. So, I decided to take a detour and try my own thing a bit. I mean, I have to keep my thighs touching somehow. They may miss rubbing against each other!
So, I made me up a bowl of eggs and put some salt and pepper in there. I also made me a plate of flour and added salt, pepper, garlic, and some Chinese five spice powder. This is all in addition to the “real” recipe of course. It was approximately about 1 tsp of each. Just dip in the egg mixture then coat with flour. This also helps with the Shrimp mixture not falling out while frying. I just pressed it neatly as tight as I could then would be sure and cover the filling part with flour as well.
And here it goes…………………… Lets Do This!
I am a regular viewer of The Chew and they frequently point out not to crowd the pan. This is very frustrating for an ADHD person cooking three meals all at the same time! But, as Carla Hall says, “There is flavor in the brown”. And, I hate admitting it but it is very true.
Excuse the blurry pictures please………. I take all these from my I-phone.
While those were browning, I made my sauce. Now, at this time I was planning on making rice as well so I tripled the original recipe. I also added about an extra teaspoon of sugar. No, I did not have mirin. And, since she had an easy substitute I decided it wasn’t safe to go on the hunt for Mirin since that would make me go on isles I didn’t need to go on. Ha! I mean, there could be something “New and Improved” or god forbid, something shiny.
I also took the lazy route and used Penzey’s minced garlic. I know I know!! If I am doing this I need to do it right. Well, remember, I am making three meals at a time here. At this point, I am approaching hour six and am getting tired. Here is my spices and oyster sauce ready and waiting to join the party!
As I took the eggplants out, I sprinkled a little salt and pepper on them as well. This picture looks like a huge blob. Wow! They really don’t look like this on my camera on my Instagram page I swear!
The recipe says to put them all back in the pan but does not say whether to empty the pan. To me, there was just too much oil in the pan still so I opted to empty it out. I did however add a little olive oil though before adding the sauce just in case. Probably only 1 Tbsp though. Then, I put the eggplant in the sauce and let it simmer for about 5 to ten minutes while I washed dishes and opened my wine.
Nothing but the finest for me! Can’t get any better than Barefoot right?
Since Fungs serves everything family style I got my fancy serving dish out. Plus, I don’t have any of the cool rectangle plates and I just thought this dish needed to look more appealing. I hurried and cut up the scallions because yes, I did forget about them and this definitely needed some garnishing. Usually, I could care less about garnishes but since I am now an official “blogger” I have to umph it up a little bit I guess. That is, if I ever get a view. LOL! But, until then, I can jot down all my recipes and keep them along with my tweaks that I come up with along the way.
We ate outside on our back porch. I just took two forks outside along with the wine and gave it to my husband. To all you feminists, no I usually do not make his plate nor carry it to him. I was just particularly proud of my dish and felt like I would’ve made Fung’s chef proud. As you can tell, the rice never got made. I was done at this point! Needless to say, there was none left. We shared this plate then my husband took the rest and ate it all. I think he liked it!