The classic northeastern dish known as di san xian (literally, “Earth Three Fresh”) is a stir-fry of bell pepper, eggplant and potato. All three vegetables are distant relatives of deadly nightshade, one of the most poisonous plants around. Then we asked ourselves: “Why stop there?” After all, we didn’t want the other edible nightshades (tomato, chilli pepper, goji berry, Chinese lantern) to feel left out. Say hello to:
EARTH SEVEN FRESH
5 tbsp sunflower oil
1 large potato, peeled and chopped into small chunks
1 medium eggplant, chopped into small chunks
1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and chopped into small chunks
2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
2 small red chilli peppers, diced
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, minced
1 large tomato, diced
8 dried goji berries (soak in water for about 5 minutes)
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp white sugar
2 Chinese lantern berries (for garnish)
1. Heat 3 tbsp sunflower oil in a wok over medium-low heat. When oil begins to lightly smoke, stir in the potatoes. Fry until golden brown on the edges. Remove from wok and set aside.
2. Heat the remaining cooking oil over low heat. Add the eggplant to the pan and stir-fry until it turns transparent and soft (because eggplant absorbs oil quickly, you can add a splash of water to avoid scorching), and then add in the bell peppers. Turn the heat up to medium and stir constantly for about a minute
3. Add garlic, chilies and ginger to the wok and continue stirring for 20 seconds. Mix in the diced tomato; stir until tomato is very tender and a sauce forms.
4. Add in the cooked potatoes. Add soy sauce and sugar, and stir until the vegetables are well-coated.
5. Add the goji berries and stir well for 10 seconds. Garnish with lantern berries and serve.
Jie Yang is the co-founder of The Daily Bagel, a Beijing-based bakery.