I saw these beautiful looking eggplants at a Chinese grocery store the other day, and they were labeled as, guess what, “Chinese eggplant.” I got even more intrigued. I remembered eating a finger-licking Asian eggplant dish a while ago, so I wondered if I could recreate it. I couldn’t. But I did something pretty good out of it. An original side to have with any meat you like (of course, chicken or duck seem like an obvious first choice), and it would even go great with fish. I can picture pan-seared halibut cooked in garlic leaves and sesame seeds… My mouth is watering again.
I love Chinese markets for their crazy-looking produce section -not to mention the meat section, chicken feet? pork stomach, anyone? yuck, let’s not go there. But the vegetables I always want to buy, even when I don’t have the first clue how to cook them. Since I’m not a very adventurous person to say the least, I usually end up daydreaming about what could be done if. But the Chinese eggplant looked like a safe choice: I could always cook it like I do a regular eggplant. Since I was serving the chicken noodle stir fry for dinner anyway, I went for an Asian inspired dish, and felt a bit like Indiana Jones in uncharted territory.
Sweet and sour Chinese eggplants
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves 2-3 as a side
- 3 Chinese eggplants
- 1 tsp sugar
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp sesame or peanut oil
- 2 tsp salt
1. Rinse and cube the eggplants. Place in a large bowl, sprinkle with salt. Cover with water, and let stand for 30 minutes. Rinse well and drain on paper towels.
2. In the meantime, in a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce, red wine vinegar and sugar. Set aside.
3. In a skillet over medium heat, add the oil, cook for 1 minute. Add the eggplants and fry until tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Pour in the sauce, stir, cook for about 5 minutes, until the sauce is fragrant and coats all the eggplants. Serve immediately.
- Use 2 regular eggplants if you can’t come by the Chinese ones.
- Add 1/2 tsp chili oil if you want to make this dish spicy.
- Reheat in the microwave the next day.
Source: adapted from Allrecipes.