Stir-frying is probably the most frequent cooking method I use at home. I mean, why not? With stir-frying, we can whip up descent, if not fabulous, meals in a matter of minutes from almost any kind of food, be it vegetables or meat, whole food or processed ones. But there are times when my stir-frying rituals run a little slower than usual, especially when the ingredients need some extra time for the preparation. Like for today`s dinner where I used fried eggplants as one of the ingredients. Plus, I used shrimps, which also means extra work for me to devein them. But even so, I usually end up forgetting all the fussy preparation when I start the cooking.
So, shall we cook now?
Wash eggplants and cut them into your desired shapes. For me, I quartered them lengthwise and then halved them crosswise. Usually people deep-fry the eggplants to make the "fried eggplants", but I always shallow-fry them because I`m too stubborn. If you too want to shallow-fry them, heat oil enough to coat the eggplants on a pan and do the frying in batches. Just make sure you don`t put too many pieces at once because the frying is supposed to give the caramelized bits, not to steam them. Another thing is, the eggplants will absorb the oil very quickly that you might need to add more oil every time you fry the fresh batch.
Set aside the fried eggplants. Honestly, I can just gobble these guys up only with a drizzle of soy sauce.
Next ingredient: shrimps. I didn`t remove the shells as I wanted to get more flavor and to prevent them from curling in too much, but I cut open their backs and discarded the veins. And washed them, of course.
On the same pan used for fyring eggplants, heat oil and fry the shrimps. I think the smell and the changing color are what I love the most from frying shrimps.
Flip over the shrimps and throw in garlic. I usually mince the garlic, but this time I just bashed the cloves and used them right away. Oh, this smells even better!
Then, throw in shiitake mushroom slices and keep stirring until the mushrooms shrank and wilted. Now the smell is getting double-better!
Slowly stir in the fried eggplants and season it with soy sauce, salt, and pepper. The fried eggplants are very soft, so be careful not to break them apart during stirring.
Final touch to add the greeny look: broccoli. The stems and florets. Please use them all. Now, since I love the broccoli to stay crunchy, I usually just throw them in the pan, cook for like 30 secs, turn off the heat, and put a lid on the pan to trap the heat inside and thus steaming them for a few minutes.
This looks like a cooked salad, I know. But I loved every bit of it that I finished this whole plate without even remembered that I didn`t eat rice with it. Juiciness, crunchiness, and bursts of flavors blended beautifully in this dish. The fussy work on cleaning the shrimps was definitely gone far from my mind when I devoured everything on this plate. What fussy work?
Happy Saturday and enjoy your weekend feasts!
Shrimp, washed and deveined