I’ve figured out how to cook Chinese eggplant properly, with inspiration from Maggie at ominvorescookbook.com, I have created my own version. I found it difficult to figure out how to cook it properly, due the sponge-y nature of the vegetable absorbing all the water!
But that strange spongy-ness is actually good for us. There is some evidence that the high viscous fibre content in eggplant can decrease LDL cholesterol levels. The trick is to season and prepare it properly so it cooks and tastes nicely!
Vegan Chinese Style Eggplant
2 Chinese Eggplants (long, thin ones)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cornstarch, plus more to coat the eggplant (2 Tbsps)
1 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
½ tsp dark soy sauce
2 tsp sugar
2 and ½ tsp vegetable oil
1 tsp minced ginger
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tbsps chopped cilantro or green onion.
- Chop eggplant into bite sized pieces. I cut the eggplant length-wise and then cut them into smaller pieces
- Place eggplant in a large bowl, add water to cover. Add 1 teaspoon, mix well. Place a pot lid on top of the eggplant to keep it under water for 15 minutes. Drain and pat dry.
- Make the sauce: Combine low sodium soy sauce, dark soy sauce, sugar and 1 tsp cornstarch in a small bowl. Mix well and set aside.
- Sprinkle eggplant with cornstarch and mix by hand, until eggplant is evenly coated with a thin layer of cornstarch. This will give it that nice crust!
- Add 1 tablespoon canola oil to a skillet and heat over medium high heat until it is warm. Cover the bottom of the skillet with the eggplant – do not overlap.
- Grill the eggplant one side at a time until all surfaces have charred, and the eggplant is soft, about 8-10 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
- Cook the rest of the eggplant in the same manner. Reduce heat if it starts to smoke.
- Add the remaining ½ teaspoon oil, ginger and garlic in the same skillet. Stir until fragrant. Add eggplant back to skillet and turn to medium heat.
- Mix sauce again until the cornstarch is fully dissolved and pour over eggplant. Stir a few times until eggplant is evenly coated and the sauce thickens.
- Taste Test: Turn to lowest heat and taste (careful it is hot). If seasoning needs to be adjusted, turn to medium heat and sprinkle with ¼ tsp salt and mix well.
- Sprinkle with chopped cilantro.
This can be served as a side or on top of steamed rice or noodles.
Makes 4 servings.