WEEKEND CHEF | Healthy recipe: Eggplant and Mushroom in Oyster Sauce

April 30, 2017 - 11:14 AM
Eggplant and mushroom with oyster sauce, prepared by Weekend Chef. Photo by Rafael R. Zulueta for InterAksyon.

After all the pork and beef that you’ve eaten every day of our lives, it is only right that you cleanse your system every now and then. Do a water flush in the morning by drinking about a liter of water first thing in the morning. Keep yourself hydrated by drinking lots of water throughout the day. Eat fibrous fruits and vegetables. And go vegetarian on cleansing days to make sure you flush out all the toxins that have built up inside you so you can feel light and refreshed once again.

Here’s one light and healthy vegetarian dish that you can cook at home during cleansing days. My sister Susan Dy goes vegetarian on certain days of the month, and she sticks to her vegetarian diet until the day is over. So she cooks her own food to make sure no trace of meat goes into the dish that she eats. This means no cheating—with or without her knowledge. It’s an act of penance that she made when my late mom was sick and, though my mom has been gone since 2015, she continued her vow.

The last time she had her vegetarian day, she cooked Eggplant and Mushroom in Oyster Sauce. It was so good that you’d hardly feel like it was a vegetarian dish. The flavor was well-rounded, thanks to the natural umami taste of mushrooms, and her oyster sauce was the vegetarian version that you can get from Chinese delis. If you’re not strictly vegetarian, though, and you simply want to cook and eat healthy, you can use the regular oyster sauce.

Eggplant and Mushroom in Oyster Sauce
4-5 pcs. eggplants
3 pcs. dried shiitake mushrooms
2 Tbsps. vegetable oil
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
salt, pepper and sugar to taste
4 Tbsps. mushroom water, or more
3 Tbsps. oyster sauce, or to taste

1. Remove stem from eggplants. Wash well and cut into cubes. Season with salt and pepper.

Step 1. Cut stems off eggplant. Wash and cut into cubes. Season with salt and pepper. Photo by Dolly Dy-Zulueta for InterAksyon.

2. Pick big pieces of dried shiitake mushrooms. Remove the stem if still attached.

3. Rehydrate mushrooms. Wash quickly under running water, then soak in a bowl of water until completely tender. Remove and cut into cubes.

Step 3. Rehydrate the mushrooms. Photo by Dolly Dy-Zulueta for InterAksyon.

4. Heat oil in wok or frying pan. Sauté garlic until fragrant.

5. Then add eggplants. After 2 to 3 minutes, add 2 Tbsps. of mushroom water (*liquid where the mushrooms were soaked). Simmer until almost dry. Add the mushrooms, and pour in another 2 Tbsps. mushroom water. Season with oyster sauce, salt, pepper and sugar to balance the flavors.

Step 5. Add eggplants, mushroom water, and after a few minutes, the mushrooms. Add oyster sauce and season according to taste with salt and pepper. Photo by Dolly Dy-Zulueta for InterAksyon.

6. Simmer until done.

7. Serve with freshly cooked rice.