Now, about the smell. Your house won't start reeking of seafood when this dish is done. But honestly, there's a faint fishy flavor in the air. It's kind of miraculous. How could a dish were no fish products get close, smell of it?
About the only difficult part of the recipe is making sure the eggplant is completely done. Nothing is worse than undercooked eggplant, but if you cook it too long it'll break down into mush. It'll be tasty mush, but still not the best texture. It also doesn't look like the prettiest dish when done. That's why there is no photo of the finished dish. But believe me, it tastes a lot better than it looks.
- 2 medium eggplants, quartered, and chopped into 1-inch chunks
- 4 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chili bean paste (doubanjiang)
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, chopped
- 1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
- 2/3 cups water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon light soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons black vinegar
- 4 scallions, ends trimmed, and the rest chopped
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
Pour the canola oil into a work or skillet set over high heat. Dump in the eggplants a stir-fry until soft and almost cooked, about 5 minutes. Remove the eggplants and set aside in a bowl.
Add another tablespoon of canola oil. When hot, add the chili bean paste. Cook for 20 seconds, and then add the ginger and garlic. Cook for 30 seconds. Pour in the water, sugar, and sauce. When it comes to a simmer, add the eggplant back in. Cook for a few minutes, until the eggplant has soaked in the sauce and is completely cooked.
Add the vinegar, scallions, and salt to taste. Cook for a minute, then pour in the cornstarch mixture. Stir until it is thickened.
Serve with a drizzle of sesame oil and more salt to taste.