Until I came to China, I never really enjoyed eating eggplant. We would usually simply grill it (most often together with zuchinni) and eat it with different kinds of dips. I guess somewhere deep inside I knew there’s more to this beautiful vegetable. Now it has most certainly become one of my favourites. I would order it very often in restaurants, a little petrified about all the oil that comes with it, yet always amazed with all the flavours.
Since I got my own kitchen, I tried to replicate the taste, without using all the oil. Traditionally the eggplant is cut to smaller pieces, then deep-fried until soft and ready to absorb all the delicious sauce. To avoid deep frying, I just peel the skin off, then brown it on maybe 3 tablespoons oil. Another way is to cut eggplant to pieces, leave the skin on, but soak the pieces in water for some time. This was my mother-in-law’s advice, and to be completely honest, I haven’t tried it (yet). If I want to indulge myself completely, I go to my favourite Sichuan restaurant and order it and forget about having remorse. But I promise you, this homemade version is just as delicious and much healthier!
2 eggplants (around 300g)
3-4 tablespoons oil (I use canola or coconut)
1 tablespoon chopped garlic (pretty sure I always use more, same with vinegar)
1 tablespoon chopped ginger
1 tablespoon chopped spring onion (plus some to garnish)
1/2 teaspoon sugar