Sunday, January 15, 2012

A vegetarian Asian dish that won’t disappoint…Hot & Sour Eggplant

Asian food has always been a favorite of mine, and now I have been exploring the culinary delight in my own kitchen…I am obsessed!! Here is my first Asian post…Enjoy!

Hot & Sour Eggplant

½ cup + 1T soy sauce
¼ cup + 2T rice vinegar
¼ cup +1T brown sugar
1/2-1 t red pepper flakes
1 ½ T cornstarch
1 T sesame oil
7-8 Japanese eggplant
3+ T vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic
4 scallions- whites thinly sliced and greens sliced to ½ inch

  1. Slice eggplant into ½ inch rounds and place in a large bowl. Sprinkle the eggplant with 1 tablespoon of salt, cover with water and soak for 30 minutes. Drain the water and dry the eggplant on a clean kitchen towel to remove excess water.
  2. Combine the soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, pepper flakes, cornstarch and sesame oil in a bowl and set aside.
  3. With the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium high heat, sauté the scallion whites. After around 1 minute add the garlic.
  4. After another minute, add the eggplant to the garlic & onion and sauté for 10 minutes or until tender. Add a splash of oil as needed.
  5. Give the sauce a mix and add it to the eggplant. Gently stir until it thickens.
  6. Remove from heat and mix in the scallion greens.
  7. Serve over rice and enjoy with a smile!!
 Alternatives, ideas and suggestions:
  • What the heck is a Japanese eggplant?!!? Well, it is a long, slender, beautiful version of its Italian relative. The eggplant is around 9 inches long and 1-2 inches in diameter.
  • Soaking the eggplant is done to extract the bitterness within the eggplant, and it also prevents it from drinking up way too much oil creating a mushy one wants that!
  • I absolutely love Japanese eggplant versus the Italian eggplant. It is sweeter, more tender and wonderfully delicious!!
  • You can most definitely adjust the mount of red pepper flakes in this recipe!! Some like it hot and some prefer no heat at all…it’s your dish play with it!!
  • If you don't have rice vinegar, you can use red wine vinegar in its place.
  •  I love this over brown rice, but it is equally enjoyable over white rice.
  • This is a totally awesome vegetarian dish as is, but feel free to add any veggies like celery, pea pods, edamame, button mushrooms or whatever your palate craves.

Now get out there and play with your Asian cuisine!!