Spicy eggplant that is a great way to "fall" in love with this autumn vegetable
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 1/2 pounds Asian eggplant, cut into bit sized cubes
- 2 tablespoons vegetable stock
- 2 tablespoons chili bean paste
- 2 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar, or substitute good-quality balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 1 teaspo0n cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon ground Sichuan pepper, or substitute 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish
In a small bowl, mix together the vegetable stock, chili bean paste, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, rice wine, sugar, and cornstarch. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a wok, or large skillet, over high heat until a bead of water sizzles and evaporates on contact. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil and swirl the pan to coat the base and sides. Add the eggplant and stir-fry until outsides become golden brown and insides begin to soften, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, and Sichuan peppercorn and stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour in the sauce mixture and mix well. Simmer for 3 to 4 minutes to allow the eggplant to full cook and the sauce to thicken enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat, plate, and sprinkle scallions on top.