"It doesn't even stink", my mom said disappointingly. We joke about the stink, but what she meant was that it wasn't as pungently fragrant as it normally is. I honestly don't know what it's called, but my kids and I generally refer to this dish as the "really yummy stinky pot of eggplant stuff". It's a Chinese eggplant and chicken dish that's served steaming hot (I'm a sucker for anything that comes in a clay or even metal pot), with lots of delicious sauce that is wonderful and so satisfying mounded with a big serving spoon over rice. The secret ingredient though, is very small chunks of fermented fish. I'm not gonna lie - if you're downwind when the server brings it out (steaming hot fajita-style), you'll have to do your best to maintain polite table manners. You might also need to thicken your skin as the diners at the table next to you WILL whisper. It's one of those dishes that smells awful but tastes amazing. You know what I mean, right?
I'm Wendy Kiang-Spray, gardener, home cook, and author of The Chinese Kitchen Garden. Learn more about the book here. Enjoy the blog and be sure to like The Chinese Kitchen Garden Facebook page for notifications when there are new posts.