Don’t make a mistake about it, I’m a real hard-man. I walk tough, I talk tough. I can see out most of the bad-assed things that life throws my way. Though, there are a couple of exceptions to the rule of tough. I’m a sucker for a sob story. I can’t stand the sight of blood (particularly my own) and I am a fear-ridden jelly when it comes to the dentist.
So when I had a tooth extracted and had a post fitted for a crown, I didn’t cover myself with glory. The one good thing I have in all of this is that I internalise. Outwardly, I was as calm and relaxed as one could be. Inwardly, well inwardly is my own business. So, after the screaming stopped (the drill, not me), my dentist advised me to stay away from hard foods. No meat, no crusty bread and definitely no toffee. I took my numbed face home and poured a coffee down my shirt front while I cogitated the evening meal. All of this misery did help produce one half decent thought. Aubergine with Lamb in an Oriental Style. So before I start to weep as I shudder at the thought of the drilling and filling, here’s how to cook this easy-chew delight.
Ingredients (for four people if served with rice)
- 2 aubergines
- 250gms of lamb mince (use pork, chicken, turkey or beef if you prefer)
- 3 spring onions
- 1 red chilli
- 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
- Half a tablespoon of cornstarch
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 piece (2.5cm/1″) of fresh ginger root
- 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon of black pepper
- 1 teaspoon of ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons of sesame oil
- 2 to 3 heaped teaspoons of salt
In a large bowl, dissolve the salt in about a litre of water. Slice the aubergines into large rings and then cut into bite sized pieces. Put the slices into the salted water and place a plate over to keep the slices submerged. This will prevent them going brown and will also allow the salted water to do its job of extracting liquid from the aubergine slices.
While the aubergine sits in the water (leave it there for 30 to 60 minutes), get on with preparing the other ingredients. Slice the ginger up nice and small. Do likewise with the chilli, garlic, spring onion and ginger.
Remove the aubergine pieces from the brine. Pat them dry with a clean tea towel or similar. Rinse and dry the bowl. Heat a little oil in a large wok (this is an Oriental style dish is it not?). Add the garlic and ginger. Stir fry until the aromas rise out of the wok. Add in the spring onions and stir a little longer. Then add in the lamb and chilli. Stir until the lamb turns colour. Add the soy sauce and the sesame oil. Stir for another couple of minutes. Remove from the heat and set this mixture aside.
Put the aubergines into the bowl and sprinkle them with the cornstarch. Stir it to coat. Wipe the wok clean and add a little more cooking oil. Add the aubergine and stir fry it for about five minutes. The aubergine will get nice and soft (and easy for a dental victim like me to eat). When it is, add back the meat sauce. Stir it to coat the aubergine.
Serve the dish either on it’s own (very rich in my opinion) or with some boiled or steamed rice (also easy to eat for a toothless creature like me).
I don’t meant to diss the dentist in this post. If I were man enough to go more frequently, I would need less work done now. I suppose preparing a lovely dish like this is some compensation for all the fear, pain and slobbering caused by my treatment. I am happy to recommend this dish to you. I would even recommend my dentist if you need an extraction or three….