Chinese-Style Eggplant

by Stacy

Post image for Chinese-Style Eggplant

I know I should probably be writing about pumpkin (and I have one on my counter, waiting to be roasted), but with such a hot fall, the vestiges of summer are still with us and shouldn’t be ignored.

Last weekend, a group of us went to my CSA farm for a tour. We each got to bring home a few treasures, and mine included these slender Japanese eggplant.

Chinese-Style Eggplant

My husband has been working evenings and weekends, so it had been a while since we’d gone on a real date. Late last month I won a gift certificate to Del Mar Rendezvous, an upscale Chinese restaurant about 20 miles north of us.

The restaurant has a good selection of vegetarian (also vegan and gluten-free) options, one of which was Yu-Shiang Eggplant. Normally I’m happy when my husband likes a vegetable, but this meant I had to share. Mixed feeling abounded, but we both loved the dish.

Japanese eggplant in hand, I knew their destiny.

Chinese-Style Eggplant

The benefits to eating this at home instead of the restaurant:

  • Cheaper for ingredients, gas, and time.
  • No loud family on one side of us wearing jean shorts of questionable decency.
  • No awkward first date with an aging frat boy trying too hard on the other side of us.

Downsides:

  • Having to do the dishes myself.
  • No table service.
  • Miles instead of a block from the ocean.

Chinese-Style Eggplant

Either way, I got to enjoy this delicious dish with my honey – a win-win.

My version may not be authentic, but it only has a few basic ingredients. Also, eggplant is a notorious oil sponge, so I used just a touch of oil to start, then finished it off with a little steam action. It has a chance to brown nicely before cooking through for a silky texture.

It may have snowed where you live already this fall, or you may be waiting out a storm this week. I hope you’re all safe, and when the skies clear, if you find some eggplant at the store or market, that you enjoy this dish with someone you love.

Even if it means that you have to share.

P.S. I’m talking about relationships in my newsletter tomorrow, so make sure you’re on the list!

print recipe
Chinese-Style Eggplant
A quick and easy homemade version of Yu-Shiang Eggplant. Great as part of a dim sum meal or as an appetizer.
Ingredients
  • 4 (about 8 ounces) Japanese eggplant
  • 1/2 tablespoon coconut or peanut oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce or gluten-free tamari
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • sesame seeds and scallions for garnish
Instructions
1.) Slice eggplant in half lengthwise. Heat a wok or frying pan over medium-high heat. Add oil. When oil is almost smoking, add eggplant. Cook, flipping once, until slightly browned, about 2 minutes per side.2.) Combine rest of ingredients plus 2 tablespoons of water. Add to pan, stir briefly, and cover; let steam for a minute or two until eggplant is tender. Stir again to coat and add a little more water if needed to deglaze the pan. 3.) Let stand 5 minutes before serving to avoid burning the roof of your mouth. Serve warm or room temperature sprinkled with sesame seeds and minced scallions.
Details

Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 2 servings


Stacy Spensley is a healthy life coach, recovering stage manager, lover of the Oxford comma, and vegetarian. She's bossy because she loves you.

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