Fried indulgence is what I would like to call them. For anyone who never liked eggplants before…this dish can surely change your mind. I had this dish for the first time ever a couple of months back in an authentic Chinese restaurant. Eggplants never tasted so good to me before, this dish totally changed my outlook towards them. I came home and scurried through the net to find the recipe. And after three relentless days of narrowing down my search. I ended up with this recipe and gave it a go.
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- Hot (Chinese) chili powder – ½ or 1 tsp
- Hot paprika – ½ or 1 tsp
- About 6 (1 1/2 pounds total) Chinese (long) eggplants, trimmed, peeled and cut lengthwise into 2- or 3-inch-long, thick “steak” fries (about 8 fries from each eggplant)
- Cornstarch – ½ cup
- Leaves and tender stems from 4 to 6 stems cilantro, coarsely chopped
- Heat at least 4 inches of oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat until the oil reaches 350 degrees.
- Place a wire rack over several layers of paper towels.
- Combine the chili powder and paprika (to taste) in a small bowl.
- Meanwhile, wet the eggplant fries with a little water. Spread the cornstarch on a rimmed baking sheet.
- Working in batches, lightly and evenly coat the eggplant fries with the cornstarch, shaking off any excess. Discard any remaining cornstarch.
- Carefully add about 8 fries at a time to the hot oil; fry for 2 minutes, or until just browned, crisped and tender. Use a Chinese skimmer or slotted spatula to transfer to the rack to drain. Repeat to fry all the eggplant.
- Transfer the still-warm, crisped eggplant fries to a serving bowl; season with the chili powder-paprika mixture to taste; this dish is supposed to be spicy, and, if you can stand it, you should use enough of the mixture to color the eggplant fries a reddish-orange. Toss quickly with the cilantro; serve right away.
Appetizers are really my favorite thing to make. It demands so much attention to details and meticulous arrangements of assorted ingredients to come up with decorative little morsels. It gives me so much joy to actually design food and in a way dress it up to sit on my dishes like super seductive models ready to be photographed. I have been playing around with the new found ingredient “ kataifi “, it is a style of filo pastry that resemble spaghetti. Commonly found in Greek and Mediterranean desserts. This time I have done two dishes with one ingredient. Scallops wrapped in Kataifi and Kaitaifi prawns with honey chili dipping sauce.
Scallops wrapped in Kataifi Recipe
- 2 cups balsamic vinegar
- 4 sea scallops (extra large)
- 1/4 lb filo (kataifi)
- 4 tbsps butter (melted)
- 1 tomatoes (diced)
- 1/4 cup scallions (diced)
- 1/4 cup dill (chopped)
- 1 shallots (medium, sliced)
- 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
- 1 cup white wine
- 1/2 lb butter (cut into small bits, thoroughly chilled)
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, simmer the vinegar until syrupy, about 30 minutes.
- Heat the oven to 450°F. Season the scallops with salt and pepper. Wrap each scallop in some of the kataifi filo. Arrange the scallops on a baking sheet and drizzle with the melted butter.
- Make the butter sauce: In a small saucepan, combine the shallot, thyme, and wine. Simmer until completely reduced and there is no liquid remaining. Over low heat and whisking constantly, add the butter, a few pieces at a time. Allow the butter to become creamy before adding the next few pieces. Do not boil or the butter will melt and the sauce will become oily. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep the sauce warm.
- Bake the scallops until just done, about 15 minutes.
- To serve, cut each wrapped scallop in half and place in the center of the plate. Spoon the butter sauce over the scallops. Drizzle with some of the reduced balsamic vinegar (save the remaining balsamic syrup for another use). Sprinkle the tomatoes, scallions and dill around the scallop.
Katifi Prawns Recipe
- 850g (about 18) large green prawns
- 100g Antoniou Kataifi pastry
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup mild chili sauce
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
1. Preheat oven to 220°C. Line 2 oven trays with non-stick baking paper.
2. Peel and devein prawns, leaving tails intact. Place pastry in a medium size bowl and loosen until strands are separated, light and fluffy. Combine oils and add to pastry; mix with fingers until pastry is evenly coated with oil. Place 1 tablespoon of pastry on a board and gently stretch to form a 15cm long strip. Hold a prawn by the tail and dip into egg; place at one end of the strip and roll pastry around prawn. Place on prepared tray. Continue with remaining prawns. Bake 12 minutes or until lightly golden. Serve with honey chilli dipping sauce.
3. To make sauce: combine all ingredients.
Cook’s Tip: No fuss entrée for 6 or serve as a savoury with drinks. Potato wedges and a salad transform this dish into a main meal for 4.