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Chinese Eggplant with Garlic Chili Sauce

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Chinese eggplant

Eggplant can be made into all kinds of dishes like eggplant parmesan, baigan bartha (eggplant curry), baba ganoush, and of course stir-fried Chinese eggplants, just to name a few. Each of these dishes uses a different type of eggplant.

Did you know that there are 17 unique types of eggplants? Most grocery stores only sell one or 2 types. Chinese and Japanese eggplants are longer, thinner, and sweeter than other types. Eggplant parmesan uses globe eggplants that are shaped like a big water drop!

The thing about eggplant is that it is essentially a sponge. So it is super important to remove as much moisture as possible so that it won’t soak up tons of oil when you cook it.  That’s also the reason why I never deep-fry eggplants. There are a few ways to do this.

Sweating eggplants

One way is to cut slices and sprinkle some salt on them to make them sweat for 10-15 minutes. That’s my favorite way to do it. Another way is to soak them in salted water for 15-20 mn.  In both cases, you need to squeeze as much liquid as possible with your hands and with a clean towel. I sometimes use a little water to lightly cook eggplants before baking them and that works great to reduce the amount of oil used.

Next, sprinkle some cornstarch over them and pan-fry the eggplants in a little oil. Keep the lid on as it will add some moisture and cook faster. Using tongs, remove the pieces that are cooked and place them on a plate. Don’t wait until they get too soft because you will be adding the sauce and quickly toss the eggplant until it thickens.

Chinese eggplants

I love stir-frying Chinese eggplant because it cooks quickly and can be ready in less than 30 minutes. That includes sweating and cooking them!

Chinese eggplant with garlic chili sauce

You can make the rice, and prepare the sauce while the eggplants are being prepped.  Then it is only a matter of pan-frying the eggplant in the sauce.

Who needs Chinese takeout when you can make this dish at home?

Let’s do this.

Chinese eggplant

Chinese Eggplant with Garlic Chili Sauce

Firm yet tender morsels of Chinese eggplant are perfectly cooked in a garlic chili sauce making this dish a new favorite for the whole family.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Entree
Cuisine Chinese

Equipment

  • Large skillet

Ingredients
  

Garlic chili sauce

  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 knob of fresh ginger minced
  • 1 Tbsp chili paste
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar or black vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar or maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch

Eggplant

  • 3-4 Chinese eggplant
  • 4-5 cups water
  • 2 Tbsp sea salt

Toppings

  • 2-3 stalks of green onions
  • 2 Tbsp sesame seeds

Instructions
 

Brine the eggplants

  • Remove the stem of each eggplant. Cut into medium-size pieces or long sticks.
  • Place the eggplants into a bowl, and cover with water with 2 tablespoons of sea salt. Put a plate on top to make sure that the eggplants are submerged. Set aside for 10-15 minutes.
  • Drain, and squeeze the eggplants to remove as much liquid as possible. Use your hands and a clean kitchen towel. In a dry bowl, sprinkle 2 tablespoons of cornstarch over the eggplant, and toss to evenly coat every piece. Set aside.
  • Chop 2-3 stalks of green onions and set aside.

Prepare the sauce

  • In a bowl combine 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar with 1 Tbsp rice vinegar, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, 1/4 cup vegetable broth, 1 Tbsp maple syrup, 1 Tbsp sesame oil, 1Tbsp cornstarch.
  • In a large skillet, over high heat, add 2 Tbsp of oil, and fry the eggplants for a few minutes. Work a few batches at a time if needed.
  • Turn off heat, and set aside.
  • In the same pan, over medium heat, add 1 Tbsp of oil, the minced fresh ginger, garlic, and chili paste.
  • Pour the sauce over the fried eggplants and fry for 10 seconds until all the pieces are perfectly coated.
  • Right before serving, sprinkle some chopped green onions and sesame seeds.
  • Serve with rice or other grain.
Keyword Stir-fry

 

 

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