15 October 2011

Recipe: Hot & Sour Eggplant

It's been a while since I've shared a recipe here, so I thought that today I would share my current favorite dinner recipe: Hot & Sour Eggplant. This stuff is AWESOME! If I get a hankering for Chinese food, I make this recipe at home. It tastes as good as anything I can order out and it's so very easy to prepare!  With the exception of the eggplant, all of the ingredients are things that I have as staples all the time, so no difficult shopping lists either. Plus, it's vegan, how about that?

Tastes better than it looks!
Hot and Sour Eggplant

You will need:
6 long Chinese eggplants or 1 -  2 regular eggplants*
2 cups sliced bell peppers (any color) -- approximately 2 - 3 fresh or use frozen Melange A Trois from Trader Joes
1 large onion, cut in half then sliced
4 cloves garlic (optional, but delish!)
(Note: You could also use only eggplants, leaving out the peppers and onions. I like to add them in for variety, plus it tastes great!)

* I have made this with both and haven't noticed any difference in taste. I said 1-2 because it really depends on the size of the eggplants that you have available. If it's a huge eggplant, one should be fine. Smaller ones might warrant two.

For the sauce:
6 T. soy sauce (or tamari)
4 T. rice vinegar (any vinegar will do)
4 T. sugar
4 t. cornstarch
2 t. olive oil (sub vegetable oil as needed)
1 T. Wild Thymes Thai Chili Roasted Garlic dipping sauce (to taste! like it hotter? add more! I prefer slightly milder)

Almost time to buy a new jar!
About the Thai Chili sauce: I love this stuff! When I order takeout Nim Chow from my favorite Thai place (Apsara!), I add a little of this to the peanut dipping sauce for zing. Wow! The original recipe that mine is based on called for green chile pepper and chili oil. (My version uses 4 times the sauce, so alter accordingly.) You can buy the sauce online or look for it at a specialty-type grocery store near you. I bought mine at the East Side Market Place in Providence.


Cube eggplant (no need to peel) and sprinkle heartily with salt (about 2 T.) Cover with cold water and soak for 30 minutes. Rinse very well and lay out on paper towels to drain. The salt removes some of the bitterness that eggplant can have. I don't recommend skipping this step!

Heat 4 T. vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and peppers and cook until softened. Add the garlic (minced) and cook for an additional minute before adding the eggplant. Cook until the eggplant is softened, about 10 minutes.

Mix the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl.

When the eggplant is softened, stir the sauce into the skillet. Stir until the eggplant is evenly coated with sauce and the mixture has thickened, about a minute. Serve immediately.

When serving this, I usually serve it over oven-baked brown rice, which if you start it right before chopping and soaking the eggplant, will be ready at close to the same time as the eggplant mixture. Last night, I used a mixture of leftover brown rice and microwaved quinoa. Delicious!


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