Sunday, August 12, 2007

Got Eggplant?

My fridge is full of eggplant. Between my CSA share and what I’m taking from my own backyard, we’ll probably be eating eggplant 3 or 4 times this week. I’m not complaining, though. I love the stuff. The problem is deciding what I want to make with it.

Today I decided on a Chinese-style spicy eggplant. The inspiration for this came from my current favorite Chinese cookbook. I added chicken and baked the eggplant instead of deep frying it. The result was still tender and flavorful, without all the guilt.

Spicy Eggplant with Chicken
  • 1/3 cup chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 tbs hoisin sauce
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp plum sauce
  • 1 lbs eggplant (Chinese variety is good, but any should be fine)
  • 10 oz chicken breast or thighs, minced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp minced ginger
  • Chili pepper, quartered lengthwise (use whichever and how much you want)
  • Handful of basil leaves (make sure they’re dry)
  • 3 green onions, sliced thinly on diagonal
Cut the eggplant into wedges (if using a large eggplant, cut into 6 wedges; for Chinese eggplant, split in half lengthwise). Toss them with oil and salt. Bake them in a 350º oven for about 30 minutes. They should be soft and a little browned. Remove from heat and set aside until needed. This part can be done a day in advance and the eggplant stored in the fridge until needed.

In a small bowl, combine the stock, hoisin, soy sauce, lime juice, and plum sauce. Set aside until needed.

In a hot wok over high heat, add about 1-2 tbs oil. When the oil starts to smoke add the chili, basil, garlic and ginger. Stir-fry for about 15-20 seconds (don’t let it burn). Add the chicken and continue to fry until the chicken is just about done, about 2 minutes. Add the eggplant and fry for a minute to get everything combined. Add the sauce by drizzling it down the side of the wok so it can caramelize. Continue to cook until everything is well combined and heated through. Turn of heat and stir in the green onions. Adjust seasonings with soy sauce or salt, if necessary. Serve with steamed rice.

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