Difficulty Level Easy
I'm always talking about allowing yourself flexibility in the kitchen. Let your ingredients give you a bit of guidance. I usually start out with a particular ingredient or recipe in mind and then build my menu around that. I had planned to make a vegan potato salad and I found some organic pork scallopini at my local market which I could quickly pan fry adding a little stock and a bit of lemon juice to make a sauce. Scouring the vegetable aisle for something from Ontario, I came across some greenhouse eggplant.
Once I got home and started thinking about the eggplant, the game plan changed. I love spicy Chinese eggplant and it occurred to me that I could julienne my very thin pork slices and add them to this recipe. In the end I used my rice cooker for ten minutes and my wok for ten minutes instead of my oven for an hour, and two stove top pans for the eggplant and the pork. We dished it up in the kitchen rather than putting it all on serving dishes in the dining room. Less cooking time, less to clean up and less energy used.
I've given you the vegetarian side dish recipe, but you can easily turn it into a main by adding tofu, or pork or chicken and serving it over rice or noodles.
|1 1/2 pounds||Asian eggplant|
|1/4 cup||chicken stock or vegetable stock|
|2 tablespoons||chili bean paste|
|2 tablespoons||dark soy sauce|
|2 tablespoons||dark rice vinegar|
|1 tablespoon||yellow rice wine|
|2 tablespoons||peanut or vegetable oil|
|4||garlic cloves, minced|
|1 tablespoon||minced ginger|
|2 teaspoons||Sichuan peppercorn, or 1 teaspoon ground Sichuan pepper|
|1 teaspoon||cornstarch, dissolved in 1 tablespoon water|
|Scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish|
- Slice each eggplant in half lengthwise, then slice each length into quarters.
- In a small bowl, mix together chicken stock, chili bean paste, soy sauce, rice vinegar, rice wine, and sugar. Set aside.
- In a wok, heat oil until just smoking. Add eggplant and stir-fry until outside become golden brown and insides begin to soften, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, and Sichuan peppercorns and stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour in stock-sauce mixture and mix well. Allow sauce to simmer for 2 minutes and eggplant to absorb sauce. Stir in cornstarch mixture to thicken sauce. Remove from heat, plate, and garnish with scallions.
From the website Appetite for China.
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