16 February 2018


the reason i don't write about food that i make myself at home is because a) i cook about three different (but regular) meals every calendar year, and b) food styling and photography are so clearly not my jam that i usually just leave it to the experts (like chloe - above!). but, in this case, i was so desperate to show the rest of you lazy lot how bloody simple it can be to up your fake-away game with a few essential items, that i had to share. plus, it's chinese new year this weekend, and if you can't experiment with your dinner in the name of new year, then when can you?

i'm the biggest fan of very lazy* ready jars and pastes, and long have they been a staple in my fridge. in honour of chinese new year, i decided to try and experiment with chloe's recipe to make it vegan friendly, and try and make without any other sauces to thereby contaminate my glorious "goddess in the kitchen" facade. so, with aubergine as my "meat" of choice, i got crafty with two of my fave pastes: chilli and garlic, as well as adding in very liberal amounts of light soy, hoisin sauce, and agave honey for the sweet, sweet taste, and the right texture to get my aubs all nice and crispy.

first things first you wanna make sure you wash your aubs, because mine definitely went for a roll around the floor of the nail salon earlier that day, but you never really know where they've been anyway, right? i chopped it up into nice bite-sized chunks, then marinated it for 15 mins in a sauce i bloody well made up on the spot, but was inspired by teriyaki. i used one teaspoon of chilli paste, two teaspoons of garlic paste (vampires be gone!), a big old squirt of agave and three big shakes of the soy. i mixed all that together then bathed the wee auby chunks in it. saucy little bath! once it was good to go i dumped it into a searing hot and sunflower-oiled up wok, until the honey went crispy and i knew it was time to play ball.

then in went half a head of broccoli and a well-old green pepper, as well as a handful of cashews for good luck; i let it all heat up and go all sweet and sticky then i added a big old drizzle of hoisin and said a small prayer to the chinese gods that it all worked out. that's about the time i forgot i had no rice so improvised with rice noodle, but i would deffo next time make sure i was ready to roll with some sticky white rice on the side. mmm mm mmmh! the pictures honestly don't do my handiwork any justice because hot damn, it was sweet and sticky and spicy and full of everything you want from a saturday night chinese, except for the msg and questionable meat. so, there you go.

have a wonderful chinese new year, and let me know if you have a go at making this (or a meaty version) yourself this weekend. 新年快乐

*pastes were kindly gifted, all shit pics are my own

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