CHILLED EGGPLANT SALAD:
In this episode of Why It Works, Lucas Sin is in the test kitchen to teach you all about Chinese salads, today’s example recipe being his Chilled Eggplant Salad.
"The following dish is a demonstration of a magic ratio I’ve found for Chinese salad dressings. Driven by the quest to devise a Chinese counterpart to the classic Western 3:1 oil-to-vinegar ratio found in salad dressings, I tested and poured through as many Chinese cold dishes as I could. After thorough exploration, I arrived at the ratio of 3:3:1:1: corresponding to soy sauce, aromatic oil, vinegar, and sugar. Of course, this is by no means a universally accepted axiom in all Chinese cookery, but it offers a useful blueprint for creating dressings that are harmonious and versatile. It’s also a perfect base for culinary creativity, such as the introduction of chili oil into the vinaigrette in this recipe.
Chilled eggplants are one of my favorite chilled dishes, liangcai 涼菜, as they present a delightful sweetness and easy texture that marries beautifully with a diverse range of other dishes. As cold dishes go, this one is quite straightforward. A little zing from chili oil, minced garlic for depth, and scallion greens for a touch of green vibrancy.
When selecting eggplants for this salad, opt for the slender, elongated Chinese variety. Seek out those with a firm feel, a deep, rich purple exterior, and an immaculately white interior. Chinese eggplants generally contain fewer seeds compared to their globe counterparts, lending a sweeter taste. They also hold their shape better when cooked, offering a pleasingly stringy texture. To ensure the preservation of their purple hue, the eggplants are given a brief soak in white vinegar resulting in a more vibrant appearance." ~Lucas Sin
00:00 – Introduction
01:21 – Process the Eggplant
02:43 – Seasoning Your Oil
04:06 – Fresh Aromatics
06:55 – Steaming the Eggplant
09:36 – Build Your Vinaigrette
12:46 – Plate & Serve!
13:22 – BONUS DISH!
GET THE RECIPE:
Chilled Eggplant Salad: https://f52.co/3QOVyn0
PRODUCTS FEATURED IN THIS VIDEO:
Luminarc Glass Prep Bowls: https://f52.co/47pBhvx
Casafina Pacifica Ceramic Dinnerware https://f52.co/49M1q9l
MORE ABOUT WHY IT WORKS:
In this technique-driven series, Food52 Resident Lucas Sin dives into the reasoning behind the culinary methods he uses in the kitchen. We’ll learn why certain Chinese cooking techniques work and how they can be applied beyond their traditional recipes. If you’re looking to level up in the kitchen, this skill-centered series is a great place to start!
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Roasted Chickpea Salad with Za’atar: https://youtu.be/QikJYDvEpSU?si=9FY9IEDyhlUiNcFv
The Best Potato Salad Ever: https://youtu.be/t32UPFa0gis?si=NpVtfqUytoXMJf8w
WATCH MORE VIDEOS WITH LUCAS SIN:
Lucas Sin Explains Why You Should be Braising Your Mushrooms: https://youtu.be/KkUSb4y_sV0?si=cGDmqVGKf6FmtVT_
Lucas Sin’s Method for Perfectly Grilled Vegetables: https://youtu.be/hDEHKTzBOZQ?si=0LhcI-GVEOm5Xwmu