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Monday, April 17, 2017

Fiery Charred Szechuan-inspired Eggplant


Fiery Charred Szechuan-inspired Eggplant


It is no secret that I love eggplant. I may not make eggplant dishes every day, but, when it is in season, I bring home as many varieties as I can find at the market, plus I grow my own favorites in the garden every year when it gets warm enough in these parts: Ichiban, Black beauty, Cloud Nine, Casper, and some heirloom varieties that I can find.

Any variety will be fine for this recipe. The sauce glaze is fairly standard as well. The extra step that boosts this recipe is the initial brining, and then charring over open flame a bit before braising in the sauce.

Ingredients
Brine: ¼ cup salt in 4 cups water
1 medium globe eggplant, cut into thick pieces lengthwise

Sauce:
2 Tablespoon dry white wine
2 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp Zhenjiang vinegar
1 Tbsp mirin
1 Tbsp Nam Prik Pow if available, or Sambal oelek

Chopped Thai red chilies, sweet red bell peppers
4 to 6 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp sesame oil

Preparation

  1. Soak the eggplant slices in brine while assembling the other ingredients, for about 15 minutes
  2. Heat the sesame oil in a pot, add the garlic and chilies and peppers and saute till aromatic
  3. Add the sauce ingredients and allow it to simmer
  4. Remove eggplant from brine, pat dry and char it over over flame: I use my roti grill for flame roasting
  5. Drop the charred/flame roasted eggplant in the simmering sauce, cover and allow to cook over low heat for slow braising
  6. Remove the lid when eggplant is mostly done but still firm, not mushy, toss it well till sauce thickens
  7. Serve warm with steamed rice

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