Strange Flavor Eggplant
1 1/2 pounds eggplant, preferably the Chinese long variety
Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.
1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
1 large scallion, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 1/2 to 3 tablespoons loosely packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
2 tablespoons hot water
2 tablespoons corn or peanut oil
1 teaspoon Chinese or Japanese sesame oil
1 tablespoon chopped scallion, or fresh coriander [cilantro] sprigs for garnish
Rinse the eggplants and pat dry. Prick them all over with a fork.
Arrange the eggplants on a baking dish or cookie sheet. Put the dish in the center of the oven and bake until the eggplants are wilted and collapse when pressed. Turn once as they bake. This will take 20 to 40 minutes or longer. Let stand until cool enough to handle.
Pull off and discard the skin of each eggplant. Cut the flesh into pieces and put in the container of a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth. Scrape the eggplant into a bowl.
Add the garlic, ginger, and 1-inch lengths of scallion to the container of a food processor or blender. Blend thoroughly. Scrape into a bowl and add the pepper flakes.
Combine the soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, and water, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
Heat a wok and add the corn oil. Add the garlic mixture and cook, stirring, for about 20 seconds. Do not burn.
Add the sugar mixture and stir. When the liquid boils, add the eggplant. Stir to blend. Bring to the simmer.
Add the sesame oil and stir. Scrape the mixture into a serving dish. Garnish with chopped scallion or sprigs of fresh coriander [cilantro]. Serve hot, cold, or lukewarm.
Yield: 4 servings
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