Eggplant really doesn’t get enough love. The craze was brussels sprouts in 2012, kale in 2013, not too sure what the vegetable craze will be this year… but I’m hoping that eggplant will make it to the list in the near future because it’s a damn good (and healthy) vegetable that too many people find repulsive. People who say “it’s the texture” are just being narrow-minded. The texture of an eggplant is similar to a zucchini!
Fish Fragrant Eggplant (鱼香茄子) is a classic Sichuan homecooked dish. As Appetite in China (where I got my recipe) says, the name is deceiving because it isn’t meant to taste like fish at all. The flavor is associated with how fish is often prepared in Sichuan cuisine, hence the name. It’s super easy to make and goes great with a bowl of rice. Very few Chinese kids hate eggplant and I attribute that to them growing up with this very specific dish. Continue reading Shi’s Kitchen: Fish Fragrant (YuXiang) Eggplant
154 Orchard St
(between Stanton St & Rivington St)
New York, NY 10002
Wow. This is some legit modern Chinese food. I hate pan-Asian and in general, hate it when people try to mess with authentic Chinese cuisine. American Chinese food is only good when Panda Express makes it because they at least don’t pretend to be something they’re not. I would call Mission Chinese modern Sichuan cuisine. The dishes certainly diverge from the traditional but it does so in the best way possible: keeping the essence of the traditional while adding something new to make the dish bigger, better, faster, stronger. This is probably the goal of pan-Asian but pan-Asian tends to just sweeten everything too much, add too much grease, and cater to people who don’t know what the original is like. Mission Chinese seems to cater to people who know what Sichuan food actually is and want to push the boundaries further. It’s like an inside joke that you would only understand if you’re already well-versed in Sichuan food.
I started the meal with an Oolong Hai ($10), which was simply oolong tea, lemon, and soju. It was a deliciously simple cocktail that was definitely made with some well-brewed oolong tea. It was probably made extra strong to compensate for the inevitable watering-down-of-tea from the ice because the tea tasted strong and penetrated the soju from beginning to end of drink. It was only very slightly sweet, which tasted more like the floral accents from the tea rather than from any sugar or honey, though I’m sure they had to add something.
We ordered a variety of cold appetizers: Beer Brined Sichuan Pickles (napa cabbage, carrot, chili oil, sichuan pepper) , Beijing Vinegar Peanuts (smoked garlic, anise, rock sugar), and Smashed Cucumbers (salted chili, sesame paste, garlic) ($4 each). $4 is quite expensive for the tiny portions of dishes that, in my opinion, could be/should be complimentary (like Korean banchan). They were not incredibly special but the fact that they even had Sichuan Pickles and Beijing Vinegar Peanuts made me excited. I had not had them since I was in China. Truth be told, they weren’t authentic and these appetizers definitely lacked in quality. I quickly forgot about them once the hot dishes came. Continue reading Mission Chinese – amazing Modern Chinese cuisine
My grandma would look down on this dish because Sichuan-ers rarely use soy sauce in their cooking, and NEVER in rice. Soy sauce is more of a northern thing. Beijingers, for example, love their soy sauce. Well, I grew up in Beijing so I guess it is okay for me to make soy sauce fried rice. Had just a bowl of leftover rice (the best kind for making fried rice because it has dried up. If you use fresh rice, you will inevitably end up with a mushier fried rice where the individual rice kernels are rounded at the ends… Do you know what I’m talking about? I notice weird things like that. Anyway!). Scrambled up an egg, added the rice with soy sauce, a little brown sugar, garlic powder, and salt.
Getting better at making this classic Sichuan dish. Used peppercorn powder instead of actual peppercorns this time so prevented the little “accidents” where you bite into a bitter, sour, and numbing peppercorn. Great with a bowl hot hot steaming rice!
Chinese, Mexican and Italian… This little experiment did not turn out strange at all because all the flavors blended well. I seasoned the ground pork with taco seasoning while I cooked it with garlic and onions. Added mushrooms and Roma tomatoes and cooked until quite juicy. Finally added Sichuan chili powder and simmered until pasta was ready.
Sichuan Chili Oil (hot oil + Sichuan pepper flakes)
Super yummy. I have grown up eating this at home and have never found a more “Xiang” or tasty chili. Add some onto any dish or sauce to spice it up.. Literally.