In June 2011, I wrote a recipe for Sichuan Eggplant that I hoped would rival one of my favorite spicy dishes from Bamboo Garden, the best vegan Chinese restaurant in Seattle. I crave so many dishes from Bamboo, including the corn chowder (“daily soup”) and chow mein, but what I look forward to the most is a spicy bowl of sichuan eggplant with a side of brown rice. So with very little time to write a recipe for this months Chinese-themed Kosher Connection link-up, I decided that sharing this recipe with all of you would be perfect! What’s that old joke that Jews eat Chinese food on Christmas??? Well let’s be honest here, the Chinese don’t celebrate Christmas any more than we do, so most Chinese restaurants are the only thing open on Christmas. Well this year, instead of ordering in on Christmas, why not cook your own Chinese food and make a feast for your family! Check out the links at the bottom of this post for more Chinese recipes to create the perfect menu.
4 cups (2-3) Japanese eggplant
2 Tbsp peanut oil
1/2 cup vegetable stock
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp soy sauce
1/2 Tbsp red pepper flakes (these are in place of 1 Tbsp chili bean paste, which I couldn’t find)
3 tsp freshly grated ginger
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp corn starch (+1 Tbsp water)
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
4 scallions, roughly chopped
How beautiful are these Japanese eggplant?!? I began the process by making the mise en place. I set up four small bowls near the stove and prepared the mixtures.
1. vegetable stock, sugar and soy sauce. 2. red pepper flakes (or chili bean paste), garlic, and ginger. 3. cornstarch and water. 4. scallions and vinegar.
I quartered the eggplant lengthwise and chopped in to slices.
I placed the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat until the oil was almost smoking. You can also use a wok for this. I added the eggplant and sautéed until soft, allowing it to sit for a few seconds each time I mixed so the skin could brown and blister. If you find that the oil is absorbed but the eggplant is not ready, you can add more oil to the pan.
Then the four little bowls came in to play. I started by adding the garlic mixture and cooking until fragrant, for about 30 seconds. Then I added the chicken stock mixture, turned the heat to medium-low and simmered for 90 seconds. I added the cornstarch and stirred until the sauce thickened a bit.
Last came the scallion and vinegar and I cooked for 15 more seconds just to take away the harsh flavors a bit. And that was it. I was actually worried about the vinegar, but it turned out perfectly. This recipe lived up to my Bamboo Garden dreams and I’m so happy that I got to share it with all of you again!