A Rejection and Another Vietnamese dish – My Irresistible Eggplant Stew

 Cooking Diary – Log 2 – 02/05/2012

There is one thing that I hate the most in the world.


I hate being rejected. I hate it!


Aarg! Hurt my ears (eyes). Those words can easily drive me crazy.

Not qualified enough?

Oh, for the love of God, not again. Please, stop!

I am rarely rejected for the last 20 years of my life. I have learned my hard lesson long time ago that it is not a good feeling and that my body and mind can hardly bear it. So I have been prepared, very well prepared, to every tiny little details in almost every single thing I do that can possibly be a reason for rejection.

But yeah, one did not stay cautious for only 1 second. And bam! Declined!

It is really not big of a deal. Just a little something, that I am quite confident and passionate about, went wrong. The world does not end, fortunately.

But I hate this feeling linger on my chest. I have to get it off of me. Hum, how? What could make even to the feeling of being rejected?

I know! It is the feeling of being accepted and achievement. 🙂

I will release the dark energy inside me by achieving something. It has to be something that I love to do, am able to do it well, and have been acclaimed. What could that be?

I know, cooking (and baking, but will come to that later). 🙂 I will cook one of my completely irresistible “signature” dishes today.

Vietnamese Eggplant stew

Vietnamese Eggplant stew

Ingredients (Serving 3)

Ingredients needed

  • 2 medium size eggplants (about 500g)
  • 300g pork (cut of your choice, recommended with medium high fat ratio)
  • 100g apple snail meat (Optional, it is not poisonous and delicious in my opinion but if you are not used to eating seafood, simply leave it out, since it has distinct taste and smell, and sometimes weird reaction with your stomach. Warning: consume with caution)
  • 200g firm tofu
  • 2 medium size tomatoes
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • ½ bulb of onion
  • 5 shiso leaves (Encouraged, it does create a distinct smell for this dish, but if you cannot find it, just take it easy. Both green and purple is acceptable.)
  • Some spring onion for garnish (optional)
  • Condiments
    • 2 tsp. salt
    • 1 ½ tbsp. sugar
    • 3 tbsp. fish sauce (More or less to your own taste)
    • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
    •  ½ tsp. turmeric powder (Please take some time to look for these in Asian markets, it’s the specialty of this dish)



Step 1: Cut the pork into bite size. Marinate them with 1 tsp. of salt, 1 tsp. grounded black pepper, ½ tbsp. sugar, and 1 tbsp. of fish sauce.

Marinating pork

Marinate the apple snail meat with ½ tsp. of turmeric powder and ½ tsp. of salt.

Marinating snail meat

Step 2: Cut the eggplant into bite size. Like in this picture. Submerge them into light salty water to prevent them from being oxidized and browning up.

Slicing eggplant

Step 3: Crush and chop the garlic finely. Slice onion into thin rings. Slice the tomatoes. Picture shows below.

Chopped onion, garlic and sliced tomatoes

Step 4: Slice tofu into cubes like this. Fried them in preheated pan with canola oil until both sides are golden. Get them out, and leave cool on the counter.

Fried the tofu until golden

Real cooking

Step 5: Start cooking this dish by adding about 2 tbsp. of oil into a preheating pot of at least 2 liters. Add the prepared garlic and onion, stir constantly on medium high heat until they start to be aromatic, about 4 minutes.

Step 6: Add the marinated pork in, stir well for 2 minutes.

Step 7: Add the marinated snail meat, stir well for another minute.

Step 8: Strain the sliced eggplant. Put them all into the pot. At first, it will look like the pot is so full, like this. Give it some stir and then cover the pot with its lit. Keep the heat to medium high. Don’t worry, It won’t burn out. Raw eggplant is filled with water, by heating them up on high heat with lit covered, you are giving a chance for water to come out of the eggplant, reducing its volume visibly.

The pot looks extra full

Here is my pot after 10 minutes. The volume decreases to sufficient level, and there is lots of stock water in the pot.

After 10 minutes with lid on and high heat

Step 9: Add the sliced tomatoes and fried tofu into the pot. Stir well but gently, you don’t want to smash the delicate soften eggplant in your pot right now. Now keep the lit away from the pot. Let it cooked on medium high heat and evaporate some of the stock water, for approximately 20 minutes.

The dish is almost done

Step 10: Now you can see that the water level in the pot has been reduced like in this picture, simply taste it and adjust the savor to your own taste. In my pot, I add 1 tsp. salt, 1tbsp. sugar, and 2 tbsp. fish sauce.

Step 11: Chop shiso leaves into very fine strip. Chop the scallion. Add them into the pot, and stir well. Take the pot off the heat.

Step 12: Scoop them onto a serving plate together with warm cooked rice. 🙂

Vietnamese Eggplant stew



6 thoughts on “A Rejection and Another Vietnamese dish – My Irresistible Eggplant Stew

      • Hi Rose,

        I will try to do that. I haven’t cook for so long time ago. So just making a few desserts. But your blog looooks sooooo awesome. And so delicious! I love Asian food!


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