Tuesday, 22 September 2020

di san xian 地三鲜 / three earth treasures

hey quokkas 

inspired by a fairly disappointing 'chinese' meal i had recently delivered, this weekend i made the northern chinese classic disanxian. it was easier than i expected, taking about 45 minutes to prep and cook. traditionally you fry each element seperately in your wok and then wok hei them all together with the sauce at the end. this uses a lot of oil and means your housemates complain about it a bit, so next time i think i'm going to only fry the eggplant and the capsicum and roast the potato separately before wokking them all together, to see how that works. so stay tuned. 

can you believe it's been all these years and the blogspot method of embedding photos is still exactly the same, and you can't edit the photo on the page. classic. 

di san xian / 地三鲜

serves 4

1 large western eggplant / 2 asian eggplants (about 450g)
approx 500g of potato 
1 large capsicum (i forgot to weigh) 
some garlic 
dark soy sauce
light soy sauce
peanut oil (or other light vegetable oil for frying) 

dice eggplant into bite size pieces. soak in slightly salty water for 20 minutes. mine were bobbing around barely covered. 
meanwhile dice the potato and capsicum into similar sized pieces. 

drain the eggplant and stir through some cornflour so all the pieces are lightly coated. this will both soak up the excess water so your eggplants don't explode at you in the oil, and make them CRISPY. 

pour a lot of oil into your wok. a lot a lot. like, 3cm covering the bottom of your wok. when it is ready to fry, add the potato. fry until cooked through, about 12-15 minutes this was really difficult for me because i've never fried potato from raw before. 

pull the potato out and put aside. now fry the eggplant. this took about 8-10 minutes. when i tested one it literally deliquesced under my spoon which is usually a disgusting image but was so so good. pull out the eggplant, fry the capsicum for about 30 seconds. 

somewhere in here, mix together the sauce ingredients. the only time i ever premix sauce is when it has cornstarch in it, because otherwise it goes glumpy. actually don't tell my mum i added cornstarch to a sauce, she will be like, if you cook it properly you don't need to thicken it with cornstarch. and honestly probably i didn't need it. 

so the sauce: a teaspoon size of minced garlic (fry it if it's fresh, but you can mix into the sauce if it's bottled). equal amounts dark and light soy, and a teaspoon each of salt, sugar and cornstarch. you will also want a few tablespoons of water, but you can add that direct into the wok. so you mix the sauce ingredients together until the bits that can dissolve dissolve. 

so anyway, back to the wok. you've removed the capsicum. remove most of the remaining oil. in fact, just remove all of it, but keep the heat on and don't wipe the wok, so you can use up the oil that just doesn't pour out. 

throw in the sauce and some splashes of water, then all of the veggies you've just fried. swoosh them quickly, and then serve. it is very important that you serve this meal over rice! i recommend you accompany it with a beautiful wok fried gailan with garlic, and maybe some sort of protein. enjoy your meal of fried earthly treasures. 

remember not to pour the oil into the sink! this is BAD FOR EVERYONE, including our sewerage system. if it's not full of vegetable bits, you can save it for tomorrow! if it is full of vegetable bits, pour it into your compost.