Eggplant with soy, ginger, and garlic


Serves 4

Large globe and Italian eggplants disintegrate when braised, so do not substitute a single 1 1/4-pound eggplant here. You may, however, substitute 1 1/4 pounds of long, slim Chinese eggplants if they are available, and cut as directed. For a spicier dish, use the larger amount of red pepper flakes.

1 ½ cups water
¼ cup Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
¼ to ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 (8- to 10-ounce) globe or Italian eggplants
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon grated ginger
¼ cup fresh basil leaves, sliced thin
2 scallions, sliced thin on bias
½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1. Whisk water, rice wine, soy sauce, sugar, cornstarch, and red pepper flakes in medium bowl until sugar is dissolved. Cut eggplants in half crosswise. Cut each half lengthwise into 3/4-inch thick wedges. (Bottom halves may yield more wedges than top halves.)

2. Heat oil in 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add eggplant, and spread evenly. Pour rice wine-soy mixture over eggplant. Increase heat to high and bring to simmer. Lower heat to maintain simmer. Cover and cook for 8 minutes. Stir, cover, and continue to cook until eggplant is soft and has decreased in volume enough to form single layer on bottom of pan, about 7 minutes.

3. Remove cover and gently turn pieces so that as much skin as possible is submerged in liquid. Continue to cook, swirling pan occasionally, until liquid is glossy and coats spoon, 8-10 minutes. Remove pan from heat and gently stir in basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to serving platter, top with sliced scallions, drizzle with sesame oil, and serve.


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