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China—Szechuan Eggplant

 

China Sideszechuan eggplant

Szechuan Eggplant
(Serves 6)

Oh yeah! Hot and spicey, just the way you like it. But you control the heat. Absolutely delicious.


1 tsp. cornstarch
1/4 C water
1 small eggplant (1 1/4 lb.)
6 T oil
1 tsp. garlic (crushed or minced)
1 T fresh ginger (minced)
1 T hot bean sauce (see sidebar)
1/2 tsp. hoisin sauce (see sidebar)
2 tsp. rice vinegar (or white vinegar)
2 T soy sauce
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 C chicken broth
1 1/2 tsp. sesame oil
1 T scallion (chopped)

Mix cornstarch with 1/4 C water to make a sauce.

Peel and slice eggplant into 1/2" slices. Heat oil over high heat in skillet or wok. Stir-fry eggplant 6-8 minutes till soft. Remove, drain, and set aside.

Drain all but 1 T oil from skillet/wok. Add garlic, ginger, hot bean sauce, hoisin sauce and vinegar to skillet/wok, stirring for 30 minutes over high heat. Add soy sauce, sugar, salt, chicken broth and cornstarch paste. Bring to a boil, stirring.

Add eggplant, stir-frying for about 1 minute till sauce is absorbed. Add sesame oil and scallions, mix well, and serve immediately.

| See more Chinese recipes |

Tips & Glossary

Many ingredients used in Chinese cooking probably aren’t in your spice shelf, but you can find them at Asian grocery stores. To avoid frustration, make a list of the items before trying recipes.

Agar Agar: dried seaweed used as a gelatin. Buy it in sticks (or strips) and soak in cold water to soften.

Chili Oil: buy it or make your own. For a recipe, see Hunan Chicken.

Chinese Cabbage: aka “Nappa”;long, white stalks with light green crinkly leaves.

Deep Frying: use a deep-fry thermometer to reach the recipe's correct temperature; if the oil isn't hot enough, the food will be soggy. When cool, the oil can be strained, refrigerated, and re-used.

Dried Shrimp: tiny, salted, sun-dried shrimp that add a pungent flavor to Asian cooking. Soak before using.

Five-Spice Powder: blend of star anise, cinamon, cloves, fennel and Szechuan peppercorns. Like allspice.

Peppersalt: buy or make your own. Heat 2 T Szechuan peppercorns in skillet 5 min. Grind into powder and mix with 2 T salt.

Sauces: Hoisin (sweet, from soybeans); Oyster (like soy, from oysters); Sweet Bean (canned, salty, from soybeans); Hot Bean (hot & salty, from soybeans and peppers).

Sesame Paste: from gound sesame seeds; substitute with peanut butter.

Sweet Rice Powder: from glutinous rice; used in place of flour in many desserts.

Szechuan peppercorns: dried reddish berries, fragrant and mildly hot.

 

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