This is an easy vegetarian dish from one of our favorite cookbooks, Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian. Even if you’re not a vegetarian, vegetarian cookbooks are great references to have for CSA inspired cooking. Madhur Jaffrey is a wealth of knowledge on international cuisine, we’ve never been disappointed by one of her recipes. In this dish, the eggplant is steamed instead of fried. Steaming it gives it a silky texture with less oil.
Cut the eggplant in large pieces and then arrange in a bamboo steamer. I love using this simple bamboo steamer, they come in two layers, but for this recipe you’ll probably use just one. Steam the eggplant for 12-15 minutes until very soft.
Finely chop one spring onion top or 3-4 scallions. Mince the garlic and ginger. Whisk remaining ingredients together. This recipe calls for chili paste with soybean or you can use chili paste with black bean like I did. They are both pretty easy to find in the Asian aisle of a well-stocked grocery store or Asian market. They can be very spicy, so reduce the amount of chili paste if you don’t like things too spicy. Remember you can always add more at the end, but you can’t take any out.
When the eggplant is steamed toss everything together over high heat. Serve over rice to soak up the spicy sauce. Top with sliced green onions or cilantro if it is in season.
Sichuan Eggplantadapted from Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian
1 lb Japanese Eggplant
2 tablespoons peanut or canola oil
1 spring onion top or 3 -4 scallions finely sliced
3 thin slices of ginger, cut into a fine dice
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons soy sauce or gluten free tamari
1 tablespooon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon or less chili paste with soybean or chili paste with black bean
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
salt if necessary
Chop the eggplant into slices or roll cut and then slice lengthwise. Bring a pot of water to a boil, place bamboo steamer over the top. Add eggplant in an even layer and steam 12 – 15 minutes or until eggplant is very soft. Combine soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, and red wine vinegar.
In a wok or large saute pan heat canola oil over high heat. Add ginger, garlic, and green onions (reserve 3 tablespoons green onions for garnish). Cook for a minute then add eggplant and sauce stirring frequently. Cook for about 3 minutes. Taste and add salt or more chili paste if needed. Sprinkle the green onions over the top and serve over rice.