Hot and Sour Eggplant

HotSourEggplantVertbfLOI’ll be honest, this recipe needs some work. STILL, I think it comes close enough to the flavor I was looking for – a ‘sweet heat’ – that I will most certainly try again. Rich liked the flavor, but thought the eggplant was ‘slimy’ (great imagery for eating, no?) – no doubt due to my lack of using high enough heat in the stir fry stage. Julia Child talked about having the courage of one’s convictions when preparing to flip something; I think I lack the courage of my convictions when I stir fry – I never seem to get the pan hot enough in the beginning or the flame high enough to keep things rolling  well and truly along.

This recipe came from multiple sources after a search with ‘da Google’ – all calling for basically the same ingredients and method – so I figured it had to be a good one to try. I was slightly surprised that our market didn’t have the Chinese Eggplants called for, but I think the one regular eggplant was an OK substitute. I used a serrano pepper, and removed most of the seeds, tho’ in retrospect, I could’ve left a few more in for some added bite, tho’ when I had the 01PeppersBowlbfLOleftover eggplant and rice for lunch, there WAS a touch of heat – maybe time is key, or maybe it was the hot sauce 😉

Be very careful with the seeds and your hands when chopping; some call for wearing rubber gloves. I was quite cautious (tho’ I didn’t use gloves) and made certain to keep my hands well away from my eyes while chopping and seeding. I then very carefully and thoroughly washed my hands before continuing; and I still ended up with a (rather pleasant, actually) tingling sensation on my lips for about the next 45 minutes or so. Forewarned is forearmed, etc.

•2 long Chinese eggplants, cubed – (I used one regular eggplant)
•3 tbsp soy sauce (I used low sodium)
•2 tbsp red wine vinegar (I, for some reason, didn’t have any red wine vinegar – so I mixed it up with 1 tbsp each cider and rice wine vinegars)
•2 tbsp white sugar
•1 green chile pepper, chopped (I used a serrano)
•1 tsp cornstarch
•1/2 tsp chili oil, or to taste – or – 1/2 tsp vegetable oil and 1/4 tsp cayenne
•2 tsp salt
•2 tbsp vegetable oil for stir frying

In a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce, red wine vinegar, sugar, chile pepper, cornstarch and chili oil and set aside.

Place the eggplant cubes into a large bowl, and sprinkle with salt. Fill with enough water to cover, and let stand for 30 minutes. Rinse well, and drain on paper towels. This is a method to remove excess water from the eggplant. Other sources say to sprinkle the eggplant with salt and let sit for 30 minutes, but don’t mention the whole ‘cover with water’ thing – I may try the dry salt process, then the rinse, dry and additional draining next time. BTW – this whole process is to remove excess water from the eggplant before cooking, much as you would with zucchini or cucumbers. I think it did mostly work, but somehow dousing the stuff in water (even salted water) to REMOVE excess water seems a touch counter intuitive. I guess we COULD consider the water bath to be a salt solution more evenly applying the desiccation process… Or, maybe I’m just over thinking here.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Fry the eggplant until it is tender and begins to brown, 5 to 10 minutes. Pour in the sauce, and cook and stir until the sauce is thick and the eggplant is evenly coated. Serve immediately.

I think the next time I try this, I will be certain to have the red wine vinegar in stock, and will leave more of the seeds from the pepper in. I’m also think a tbsp or two of Thai chili sauce couldn’t hurt. If you try it, let me know.

NOTE: I’ve had a request to add a table of contents, or an index, so that folks can more easily search for recipes. I don’t THINK this blog application allows me to do that, but I’ll look into it. In the meantime, if anyone is looking for a specific recipe from the archives, or maybe a suggestion about what to do with that odd side o’ cow in the freezer; please feel free to email me. The buzzyfoods minions will be happy to be of assistance.


I have always wanted minions…

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