Thursday, May 25, 2006

Szechwan Eggplant with Rice

The eggplants were absolutely beautiful at Kroger's this week, so I bought one. What would I make with it - stuffed Arabic style? maybe ratatouille? maybe baba ghanoush? Then today, it hit me - Szechwan stir fry over rice. So, I called home at 5 pm and told dear daughter to make rice, and planned the eggplant out in my head. This came out delicious, nice and spicy, with a good bite of ginger and garlic. What's not to like?

Szechwan Eggplant with Rice

1 large onion
2 Tbs minced garlic
1 Tbs freshly grated ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne
peanut oil
2 tsp chili paste (or to taste)
1/4 C dry sherry
1/4 C soy sauce
1 tsp brown sugar
1 Tbs cider vinegar
1/2 tsp dark sesame oil
1/2 C broth
1 tsp cornstarch
1 green pepper, chopped
1 bunch cilantro, chopped

In a cup, mix together the sherry, soy sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, broth, sesame oil and cornstarch until the cornstarch is lump-free, then set aside. In a wok, heat about 2 Tbs peanut oil to almost smoking over high heat. Add the onions and stir fry for a minute or two, then add the garlic, green pepper and eggplant. Continue stir frying until the egg plant is cooked through and soft. It will begin to carmelize a little bit. When the eggplant is ready, toss in the cilantro, stir the liquids to evenly disperse the cornstarch, and pour into the wok, stirring all the while. Stir for a minute or so till the sauce begins to thicken. Add a little more water or broth if it seems too thick. Taste for heat and add more chili paste if you want.

Serve over rice, with some edamame on the side.

Notes: You could add cubes of tofu into the hot oil at first - they will firm up and give a toothsome texture when you fry them. Remove them, set aside, and then begin the recipe as I have written it. Stir the tofu in at the end. You can use other vegetables instead of eggplant. I think this would be delicious with mushrooms and broccoli, and maybe even with some beef strips. Yum!

This serves 3 people generously without tofu. If you add tofu, it will serve 4.

Four stars from dear daughter - she thought the sauce was a little to thick, and I agree.

Time: 30 minutes total, including making the rice and chopping everything.

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