What’s Cookin’? Sunday Food Thread 3/13

So last week I didn’t have a topic but did mention in the comments that we were having a guest over for dinner on Tuesday.

We cooked up some Chinese food and one of the stars of the show was Dan Hong’s Crisp Eggplant With Fish-Fragrant Sauce If you think that title’s a mouthful you should really try the dish! We have made it before so we weren’t in uncharted waters for our guest, but I think the practice we put in on earlier meals really showed Tuesday night. It really rivaled the best crispy eggplant I’ve had at any Chinese restaurant (the header picture is our finished product). When we first found this recipe and decided to try it we had to get a couple ingredients that were unfamiliar to us (at least working with them, we had heard of them). First was the xanthan gum used in the batter. It was a gelatinous, blobby concoction and it was my job to coat and fry. This is where the practice really paid off as I was more used to working with it. I was able to mix it thoroughly, get my coatings very even and knew just when it was safe to start separating the pieces in the fryer without doing serious damage to the coating. The other ingredient is the liquid glucose in the sauce which also is also in these Momofuku Milk Bar Compost Cookies that we didn’t make Tuesday. My wife made that part of the recipe as she’s really good with melting sugar and keeping an eye on the temperature so nothing burns. This recipe makes a good amount of sauce so we still had enough from the first time we made the dish. It hits the right balance of sweet & spicy with a good stickiness that really stays on the food. All in all it was a good experience using these two new to our kitchen ingredients. We do have to make another batch of that sauce soon!