Wok-Charred Eggplant With Basil

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2 medium eggplants, about 1 pound each
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 hot chili peppers (such as Serrano or jalapeno)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 to 5 cloves garlic, peeled and mashed flat with the side of a knife
1/4 cup shredded basil

Prick eggplants all over and cook on the grill, over the flame on a gas stove or under the broiler. Turn the eggplants and continue cooking until the skins are charred. The flesh will soften.

Combine sugar, salt, vinegar and fish sauce in a small bowl and stir to dissolve sugar. Mince chili peppers or slice into the thinnest possible rings and add to vinegar mixture. Set aside.

When cool enough to handle, peel the eggplant. The peel should come off easily. Slice the eggplant into slices about 3 inches long and 1/2 inch to 1 inch wide. They might sort of fall apart if the flesh is soft; just do the best you can.

Heat vegetable oil in a wok or cast-iron skillet. Add the garlic and cook a few seconds until they are aromatic.

Add eggplant, and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add sauce and cook 1 minute. Add the basil, stir a few seconds, then remove from heat. Serve with rice.

Serves 4.



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