Prep 30 mins
Cook 10 mins
A sophisticated Szechuan flavor combination of sweet, sour, garlicky and spicy.
- 1 lb eggplant, cut in bite size chunks
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1⁄4 cup sliced canned bamboo shoot
- chinese tree ear mushroom, shredded
- 2 -3 sliced water chestnuts (or, better, substitute fresh jicama)
- 2 scallions, cut in 2 inch pieces
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger
- 2 -3 teaspoons garlic
- 1⁄2 cup chicken stock (canned is OK)
- 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
- 1⁄2 teaspoon sugar (to taste)
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
- 1⁄2 teaspoon szechuan hot bean sauce
- chinese hot oil (optional) or Tabasco sauce (optional)
- 1 teaspoon cold water
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch, in the water
- 3 -4 drops sesame oil
- The small purple Asian eggplant is best but the western dark skinned variety (large or baby) can be used be used.
- If using the western eggplant you may want to peel the skin since it has a tendency to be quite tough.
- These are called mu-er in Chinese.
- This is the fungus used in mu shu pork.
- Variously known in English as wood ears, tree ears or cloud ears, it is strictly a texture food and has no flavor at all.
- They must be soaked for 15 minutes in boiling water before use.
- The stem is very tough and must be removed.
- Mu-er increase up to four times in size when soaked so a little goes a long way.
- Chinese red vinegar is best but unseasoned rice vinegar, or plain or cider vinegar work fine.
- Have a bowl handy lined with a sieve.
- Heat oil in wok to very hot.
- Carefully stir in eggplant and cook, stirring constantly, until half done.
- Pour contents into the sieve-lined bowl to drain.
- (You may want to press down on it slightly since eggplant soaks up a lot of oil).
- The oil can be strained and reserved for other uses.
- Reheat the wok with a little more oil and stir fry the garlic, ginger and scallions for about 30 seconds- until they give off a strong aroma.
- Add the mu-er, water chestnuts and bamboo; stir fry about a minute.
- Stir in the sauce ingredients.
- When it begins to boil thicken it slightly by adding a little of the cornstarch mixture at a time.
- When it reaches the desired thickness (it takes very little time) stir in the cooked eggplant.
- Continue to stir and cook for about a minute.
- Stir in a few drops of sesame oil and serve immediately.
- Serves 3 or 4 as part of a multicourse Chinese dinner.
This was really good. I used a tablespoon of oil, dried mushrooms, and more ginger. I increased everything in the sauce except the broth, but wished I had made even more.
I made this yummy dish, making a few changes. I used button mushrooms, and instead of scallions I used leeks. I didn't have hot bean sauce so used Szchuan Peanut Sauce. This turned out very flavorful! Thanks tgobbi!
The amount of oil used in this recipe looks scary, but very little of it actually ends up in the dish. The dish has the authentic, complex flavour I've been looking for. I admit that this time I skipped bamboo shoots, wood ears and water chestnuts since I just wanted to try out the eggplant itself, which turned out superb - both the texture and the sauce. I'll definitely be making it again (maybe this time also with a bit of fresh chilies). Thanks for posting it.