Dry-fried Chinese Eggplant Nuggets
Combine the aromatics in a small dish; seal until ready to use.
4 teaspoons fresh ginger root, finely minced
4 teaspoons garlic, finely minced
1/3 cup scallions, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon chinese chili sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 1/2 tablespoons hot water
4 tablespoons peanut oil
1 1/2 pounds eggplant, chunked
Combine the sauce ingredients through the water in a small bowl. Stir to blend, leaving the spoon in the bowl.
Heat a wok or large heavy skillet over high heat until hot enough to evaporate a bead of water on contact. Add 3 tablespoons of the oil and swirl to glaze the pan. Reduce the heat to moderate. When the oil is hot enough to sizzle a scallion ring, add the aromatics. Stir gently until fully fragrant, 20 to 30 seconds, adjusting the heat so they foam without browning. Add the eggplant and toss well to combine. Toss until the eggplant is very hot and mostly brown, about 4 minute. Adjust the heat so the eggplant cooks without scorching, and drizzle a bit more oil down the side of the pan, if needed to prevent sticking. Be stingy with the oil; eggplant will soak up all you give it.
Stir the sauce, add it to the pan, and toss well to combine. Bring the liquid to a simmer, cover the pan, and simmer until the liquid is 90 percent absorbed, 2 to 3 minutes.
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