At a recent farmers' market, I ran across -- and bought -- Japanese eggplant, which I had never cooked with before. In fact, I haven't consumed any variety of eggplant in a very long time after an unfortunate eggplant parmesan encounter when I was quite young. This recipe may have broken that block...
For the Sauce:
1/3 cup chicken stock
1 TBSP hoisin sauce
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp plum sauce
4 Asian eggplants (about 1 pound), stems removed
vegetable oil for deep-frying
2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp minced ginger
1/2 jalapeno chili, sliced into rings
pinch of ground Sichuan peppercorns
chopped cilantro or sliced green onions
Prepare the sauce: Stir the chicken stock, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, lemon juice and plum sauce together in a small bowl until blended.
Cut the eggplant lengthwise into quarters, then cut crosswise into 3-inch pieces.
Pour enough oil into a 2-quart saucepan to come to a depth of 3 inches. Heat over medium heat to 350 F. Deep-fry the eggplant in batches until tender, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain well on paper towels. Reserve the oil.
Heat a wok over high heat until hot. Add 1 TBSP of the reserved oil and swirl to coat the sides. Add the garlic, ginger, chili, and Sichuan peppercorns and stir-fry until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Add the sauce and bring to a simmer.
Add the eggplant and stir to coat. Scoop onto a warm serving platter. Serve garnished with basil leaves and cilantro or green onions.
Notes: As per the recommendation in the book, this was served with strips of pork marinated in char siu sauce and also stir-fried. This nicely complimented the spicy flavor of the eggplant dish, and that was even with the fact that I ended up leaving out the sliced jalapeno.Posted by Jennifer at October 19, 2009 9:50 PM