Monday, July 16, 2007
The Skinny on Chinese Eggplant
An excursion to my local Chinese grocery store is indeed like an excursion to a distant land. There are so many deliciously exotic sights and smells to feast on that I sometimes really do feel like I've travelled to Asia. I headed out to the Chinese market one recent Saturday morning and found some beautiful Chinese eggplant. Egg plant is one of my favorite vegetables to cook with because it is so versatile. The Chinese eggplant is more slender and longer than the familiar American or globe eggplant. The skin of Chinese eggplants is also thinner and there are less seeds which give it a more delicate and sweeter flavor. I've adapted a recipe for a hot and sour eggplant dish that I originally found in the Allrecipes website. You will need the following ingredients:
2 Chinese eggplants
1 tablespoonful each of:
1 tablespoonful mustard seeds (optional)
crushed fresh garlic (use as much or as little as you like)
finely minced fresh ginger
green onions, finely chopped (I used about 4 stalks)
3-4 dried red chili peppers, chopped (optional)
1 tablespoonful peanut oil
1. Cut the eggplant into 1-inch cubes with the skins on, place them in a large bowl and sprinkle this with salt. Fill the bowl with enough water to cover and let stand for about 30minutes. Rinse well and drain on paper towels.
2. In a small bowl stir together the vinegar, soy sauce, Worcester sauce, and sugar and set aside.
3. Heat the peanut oil on a large pan or a wok over medium high heat and add the mustard seeds if using, then add the garlic, green onions, and ginger, stir frequently for a couple minutes then add the eggplant and continue to stir fry until the eggplant is tender and begins to brown (about 5-10 minutes). Add the sauce and the red chili peppers, evenly coating the eggplant with the sauce.
You can eat this hot or let it cool to room temperature. It's wonderful with everything from brown rice to noodles. I even used this as a topping on my homemade pizza. Told you eggplant's pretty verstatile stuff. Enjoy!