I tend to find eggplant either crazy delicious, like these eggplant spirals, or totally off putting. I couldn't quite put my finger on why until I tried out this recipe for Chinese eggplant with a garlic and ginger sauce.
I grilled eggplant slices, and they looked perfect when they were beautifully browned and pulled off the grill. I then nestled my wok right onto the coals, quickly sauteed some garlic, ginger, scallions, and chiles, and tossed in the eggplant and sauce, letting it cook until thickened. It looked so mouthwatering, and I eagerly took a first taste. It had a deep ginger flavor that I love, along with the type of sauce that makes good Chinese food. But something was not right--the texture of the eggplant. In contrast to the creamy eggplant texture I do enjoy, these were a bit too mushy for my palate.
That said, I had a true eggplant lover on hand when I made this, and she found these delicious. So for someone without my hangups, this is an excellent recipe.
- 1 1/2 pounds Chinese or Japanese eggplant, cut diagonally in 1/2-inch slices
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon canola or peanut oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
- 3 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 to 3 jalapeno or serrano chilies, minced
- For the sauce:
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice wine
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey or sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
In a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce, rice wine, rice vinegar, honey, and cornstarch. Set aside.
Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals out evenly. Bush the eggplant slices with the sesame oil and grill over medium heat until they have softened and the purple color is gone, turning half-way through. Remove to a plate.
Remove the cooking grate and place your wok directly on top of the coals. Swirl in the canola or peanut oil. If the wok is hot enough, the oil should move quickly around the wok. Add the garlic, ginger, scallions, and chilies. Stir for 10 seconds, until brown and fragrant. Add the eggplant and stir for 1 minute. Stir the sauce and add it to the wok. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook until sauce thickens. Remove to a bowl and serve hot or cold.