Chinese Eggplant

Ever wonder how a Chinese restaurant can get their Chinese Eggplant to be so tasty?  I often find that when I try to replicate it, I end up with soggy, calorie-laden eggplant.  And, who wants that?  Not me, that’s for sure!  So, I turned to the Omnivore’s Cookbook, a wonderful site that I have found that teaches you how to make authentic Chinese food in your own kitchen.  Check out the Char Siu recipe I recently posted…it’s also from this site. 

There are ways to cook eggplant that will make the end result very tasty.  To begin, you MUST take time to prepare the eggplant.  I recommend one of two ways.  The first is less time-consuming and involves soaking the eggplant slices in salted water for 15 minutes.  The second method is spreading the slices on paper towel, salting both sides and letting it sit for 45-60 minutes.  If you take the time to properly prepare the eggplant, you won’t end up with soggy, greasy eggplant.

After the eggplant is prepared, sprinkle it with cornstarch and toss it together. That will give you a crispy charred eggplant once you sear it.  Add the garlic and ginger to the seared eggplant for a few seconds and then add the sauce.

You will be surprised at how easy it is to recreate your favorite Chinese restaurant or take-out!

Chinese Eggplant

Makes: 2-4 servings

Prep Time: 25 minutes Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

2 small Chinese long eggplant , chopped to bite-size pieces

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp cornstarch

Sauce:

1 tbsp light soy sauce (or soy sauce)

1 tbsp water

1/2 tsp dark soy sauce (see Chef’s Note)

2 tsp sugar

1 tsp cornstarch

Stir-fry:

2 1/2 tbsp peanut oil (or vegetable oil)

1 tsp ginger , minced

3 cloves garlic , chopped

Place eggplant in a large bowl and add water to cover. Add 1 teaspoon salt, mix well. Place a pot lid on top to keep the eggplant under water for 15 minutes. Drain and pat dry.

Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl, mix well.

Sprinkle eggplant with 1 tablespoon cornstarch and mix by hand, until eggplant is evenly coated with with a thin layer of cornstarch.

Add 2 tablespoons oil to a big nonstick skillet and heat over medium high heat until hot. Spread eggplant across the bottom of the skillet without overlapping. Cook the eggplant one side at a time until all the surfaces are charred and the eggplant turns soft, 8 to 10 minutes in total. Transfer the eggplants to a plate. If the skillet gets too hot and starts to smoke, turn to medium heat.

Add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon oil, the ginger and garlic into the same skillet. Stir a few times

until fragrant. Add all the eggplant back into the skillet. Mix the sauce again until cornstarch is fully dissolved and pour it over the eggplant. Immediately stir a few times, until the eggplant is evenly coated and the sauce thickens. Transfer everything to a big plate.

Serve hot as a side or as main over steamed rice or noodles.

Chef’s Notes:

You can use other type of eggplant and still generate crispy texture if following the method in this recipe. However, Asian long eggplant is the best option.

This recipe uses very little sauce, just enough to coat the eggplant and make it tastes super flavorful. The rich sauce helps to keep the eggplant staying crispy. Be careful, the sauce will reduce very quickly once you add it to the pan. Stir immediately to coat the eggplant.

The dark soy sauce will add color to the dish and make it look more appetizing. You can skip it if you don’t have any in your pantry.

If you choose to prepare the eggplant by salting it and letting it sit for 45-60 minutes, be sure to pat it dry.  Do not rinse it. 

Recipe from Omnivore’s Cookbook

Ingredients

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