Eggplant with Garlic-Chile Sauce
I love eggplant, but my teenaged daughters don’t. So I had to wait until both were working to make this, one of my favorite stir-fry dishes celebrating the purple vegetable. It’s so easy and spicy-delicious, bet you’ll fall in love with it, too.
Eggplant can be bitter, so salt and then press the chunks on paper towels before frying to draw out any bitter juices. I used Hunan red chile sauce (available at Asian markets) but any hot red sauce will do. Serve with brown rice and an ice-cold lager.
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
Vegetable oil for frying
4 Chinese eggplants (about 1 pound total), trimmed and cut into bite-size chunks
2 scallions, white and green parts, trimmed and minced
1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
6 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon Hunan red chili sauce, or more (or less) to taste
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
Make sauce by mixing soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, rice wine and white pepper in a small bowl. Set aside.
Heat a large wok over high heat. Add enough oil to come about 1½ inches up the sides of the wok, and heat to 325 degrees. Add the eggplant and stir-fry just until it softens but still holds its shape, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon or strainer.
Return wok to high heat. Add scallion, ginger and garlic and stir-fry until fragrant, about 10 seconds. Add soy sauce mixture, and stir-fry for 15 seconds. Add eggplant and stir-fry until the sauce is boiling and the eggplant is hot, about 1 minute. Add chili sauce, if using, and stir-fry for 10 seconds. Add the sesame oil and serve immediately, alone or over white or brown rice.
Makes 3 to 4 servings.
-- Gretchen McKay