Happy Valentine’s Day! Chinese-style spicy mince with aubergine

I would like to address the fact that it is Valentine’s Day tomorrow. Personally, I am not a big fan of this holiday (since I am of the belief that it is a marketing campaign on behalf of flower and chocolate companies worldwide), but for those of you who do celebrate, I have 2 suggestions. One: Make brownies for your significant other. But not just any brownies. DESTINY brownies. These babies even got me a feature on the Nuffnang blog! Two: If you don’t see yourself as a baker, pop over to my good friends Ganache Macaron and grab one of their Valentine’s Day Boxes. Despite my cynicism, this is a gift I definitely would not turn down!

Anyway, let’s get back to the Chinese beef. This dish is incredibly simple and easy: the perfect lazy Sunday dinner. I’m living alone for the first time ever and have been struggling with cooking for one, so I just invited a friend over – I don’t think she minded! It went very well with some plain steamed rice, which I made in my new, small rice cooker that the caring boyfriend had sent to my flat a few days ago! You can top it off with some sriracha to adjust for personal spiciness, but other than that, it needs no additions.

Serves 2

  • 250g beef mince
  • 1 aubergine, cut into small chunks
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 inches ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • Dash of sriracha (about 1 tbsp)
  • 150ml chicken stock
  • 1 tsp black vinegar

Heat your pan and add plenty of vegetable oil. Fry the aubergine chunks until they are fully cooked. A trick I learnt from School of Wok is to make sure the aubergine pieces are fully coated in oil as soon as you put them in the pan (so dip and flip – let them touch the oil and then turn them immediately). Aubergine soaks up a lot of oil and you don’t want to keep adding more!

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Once the aubergine is fully cooked, remove the pieces from the pan and keep aside. Add 2 tbsp of vegetable oil into the same pan and fry the onions, ginger and garlic for about 5 minutes, until the onions turn a little brown. Then add the mince and fry until about 70% brown before adding all the other ingredients. Let it stew for 3-4 minutes until the mince is fully cooked, and then add the aubergine back in. Mix everything nicely and serve topped with more sriracha!

As I said, it’s beautifully simple. And the flavours aren’t too bad either! If you’d like to make it a little more healthy, you could substitute the rice for lettuce and make lettuce wraps, which is an equally tasty option.

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PS. If any of you have ever wondered how I remember what ingredients I use, this is a little example. It will also show you why I like to keep this blog and don’t just save these little pieces of paper… even I barely understand them!

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