Chinese Eggplant

Eggplant is one of my favourite vegetables, such an interesting flavour which can be enhanced in so many ways. In Moussaka with lamb and spices, Baba Ganoush all smokey (once my house smelled like burnt eggplant for a few weeks after making it, it was great!) and like this with salty and sweet Asian flavours.

Don’t be scared by the chilli and garlic, their flavour is very mild in the final dish but they are essential flavours so don’t skip them.

Ideally this would be cooked in a wok over gas. I have tried this recipe in a wok on the electric stovetop and found that it was better with a big frypan instead. The wok didn’t distribute the heat enough and the result was better and easier with the frypan.

Flavour explosion!

Chinese Eggplant
Serves 2 as a main or 4 as a side, 5 minutes preparation plus 20 minutes cooking
This is another recipe based on a recipe from Food Safari but with my changes

500g (1 pound) of eggplant
4 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
1-2 large red chillies, diced
3tbs oil (or 4 x 15mL tablespoons), I use rice bran oil because it has a high smoke point
200mL water
1tbs sugar (1 x 15mL tbs plus 1 tsp)
3tbs soy sauce (4 x 15mL tbs)
3 shallots in 4 cm lengths
Sesame oil
Toasted sesame seeds

Be prepared! Scouts motto and useful advice for chinese eggplant. Have everything ready when working with hot oil.

Heat the oil (not the sesame oil) in your wok or frypan, then fry the garlic and chilli for about 30 seconds. The garlic shouldn’t cook long enough to colour, but it will make them mild and sweet. Remove the garlic and chilli from the pan with a slotted spoon, keep them aside for later.

I won’t miss those blue benches

Add the eggplant to the pan, frying until the oil is absorbed. Once the oil is absorbed, add half the water one tablespoon at a time, allowing each tablespoon of water to be absorbed before the next is added.

Looking good, softening and sucking up all the flavours

Once half the water is absorbed, add the remaining water, sugar and soy. Stir then cover to cook for 5 to ten minutes until the eggplant is nearly cooked through. When the eggplant is very nearly cooked, remove the cover and let the sauce reduce until it is thicker and sticky.

Stir and serve

30 seconds before serving, stir through the shallots and sesame oil. Serve topped with toasted sesame seeds and a side of rice.


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