This recipe holds everything we love about Chinese-style food fare that fits the Filipino sweet-and-spicy craving
A beloved Chinese eggplant dish, stir-fried in a sticky-sweet chili garlic sauce with pork—Yú Xiāng Eggplant, yes—but think Nina Daza-Puyat. That gives you yet another style and interpretation to this Asian staple that, although directly translates to “fish-fragrant” in English, has nothing to do with fish. Rather, yú xiāng is an ode to the aromatic combination of garlic, ginger, and fermented chili in a sauce developed to cover up fishiness or any strong odor in a dish.
Basically a similar concept to the Filipinos’ ginisa, this Chinese flavor profile works well with most ingredients—which for the food stylist and “The Philippine Cookbook” author are eggplant and vermicelli noodles. “I wanted a totally different flavor, a totally different personality,” Nina tells Lifestyle Asia. “Vermicelli is the kind of noodle that absorbs any flavor you give it. It’s so versatile.”
So, she whipped up the sauce base of ginger, chili garlic paste, soy sauce, sugar, and a little vinegar in a bowl, and simmered the liquid mixture with ground pork for a meaty taste. Then, she stirred in a cornstarch slurry to thicken the sauce before tossing in the bouncy noodles to give it an appetizing gloss. “Slippery, chewy, and soft vermicelli topped with the eggplant that has a crispy outer shell and a tender flesh… It’s a nice mouthfeel. Not to mention the fusion of sweet, spicy, and savory all in one sauce,” she describes. “There’s really a balance in texture and in taste.”
Truly an Asian food lover’s feast, Nina Daza-Puyat’s sweet-spicy eggplant and pork vermicelli is an exciting noodle recipe that you can recreate at home with Sapporo Long Kow Vermicelli and spice up according to your heat tolerance.
Sapporo Long Kow Vermicelli is a low-glycemic index carbohydrate that is low in sodium. It is gluten-free, fat-free, and cholesterol-free. For more information, visit their website.
Photography ED SIMON of KLIQ, Inc.
Creative Direction NIEL JHED IBAY
Art Direction ADAM AGUSTIN
Recipe and Food Styling NINA DAZA-PUYAT
Shoot Coordination VINCE SABITIAN, TONI CALINGASAN, and GODWIN DOMINGO