Sichuan Eggplant stir fry

This eggplant stir fry is inspired by my favorite eggplant dish at PF Chang’s Chinese Bistro. The eggplant is cooked in a spicy sauce, and is perfect, melt in your mouth tender. I have tried to re-create the dish at home as much as I could. It was a perfect combination to the fried rice we had today for dinner.

Ingredients:
3 medium sized japanese eggplants
5 scallions, sliced on a bias
1 tbsp finely minced garlic
1 tbsp finely minced ginger
2 tbsp cornstarch
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sriracha red chilly sauce
1 tsp ketchup
1 tsp brown sugar
1/4 cup chicken/vegetable stock(or, 1/2 buillion cube, dissolved in 1/4 cup water)
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tsp red pepper flakes/sichuan peppercorns pounded
3 tbsp canola oil
salt to taste

Method:
Halve the eggplants lengthwise and cut into cubes. Toss the eggplant cubes in the cornstarch and a couple of pinches of salt. In a flat frying pan, heat 1 tbsp of canola oil over medium high heat. Spread the canola oil around to coat the pan evenly. Place half of the eggplant pieces on a single layer on the pan. Sear one side, flip using a pair of tongs and sear the other side. Remove onto a plate, cover with aluminum foil. This helps soften the eggplants, while maintaining a crisp exterior. Add another tbsp of canola oil and sear the other half of the eggplants. Remove onto the foil covered plate.

While searing the eggplant, place the sesame seeds in a small plate and microwave on high for about 2 1/2 minutes. This toasts the sesame seeds. Set aside.

Make the sauce by mixing the chicken/vegetable stock with the soy sauce, sriracha sauce, ketchup and brown sugar. Set aside.

Heat the remaining oil over very high heat, until it comes to a smoking point. Add the scallions(reserving about 1 tbsp green tops for topping), ginger and garlic and saute. Add the red chilly flakes and continue sauteeing until the mixture turns a shade of brown. Add the sauce into this mixture. Add the eggplants and keep sauteeing until the sauce coats the eggplant and thickens. You can have it to be as saucy as you want. I kept the sauce just enough to coat the eggplant. Remove, sprinkle with the reserved scallions and the sesame seeds.

Serve hot with rice or fried rice.

Verdict: The ginger and garlic and the red pepper flakes infuse the oil. Searing the eggplants first, makes it really tender and when coated in the spicy soy sauce, its flavor enhances even more. Really a great side for fried rice.

Sending this to ‘Healing foods – Eggplant’ event, series concept by Siri.

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