This Sunday sees the start of a new Lunar Year, the Year of the Rabbit. Families will get together to make dumplings, distribute hongbao (lucky red envelopes) and for Charlene Liu, owner of Chongqing noodle pop-up Liu Xiaomian, the best part: eat celebration food like her auntie’s homemade 茄盒 (aubergine box).
To create this family speciality, saved only for new year celebrations, minced pork is combined with aromatic spring onion and ginger, distributed through layers of fresh aubergine, and fried until crispy and golden. Cut into slices and eaten hot, it barely touches the plate. Check out the full recipe below.
• 2 Large aubergines
• 1 Box of minced pork (500g)
• 15g Ginger
• 15g Spring onion
• 1 Egg
1. Make the batter using 1 cup of flour, an egg white, a pinch of salt, and mix with ½ cup water. Put aside for 20 minutes.
2. Mix minced pork with ginger, spring onion, and egg yolk (left over from step 1)
3. Cut the aubergine into thick slices
4. Lay minced pork on sliced aubergine and top with another slice, so the pork is 'boxed' in by the aubergine
5. Dip this “box” into the batter
6. Heat a pan of oil to 180 degree Celsius, then put the “box” in to fry. Be careful with the heating oil as it will be extremely hot.
7. Turn the 'box' so all sides are fried
8. Take the 'box' out when sides are golden or pork is cooked through
Slice and dip with your choice of sauces. We recommend a simple soy, or spicy chilli oil.