Fish-Fragrant Eggplants (Yu Xiang Qie Zi)

Fish-Fragrant Eggplants (Yu Xiang Qie Zi)

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Ingredients

2 medium Japanese eggplants, quartered lengthwise and then chopped into 2-3-inch batons
salt
peanut oil
1 1/2 tbsp Sichuanese chili bean paste
3 tsp fresh ginger, minced
3 tsp garlic, minced
2/3 cup chicken stock
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp soy
1 tsp cornstarch, mixed with 1 tbsp cold water
2 tsp Chinkiang or black vinegar
4 scallions, thinly sliced on the bias
1 tsp sesame oil

Directions

Sprinkle eggplant chunks with 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt and leave it on for 30 minutes to draw out some of the juices.  Heat a wok over high heat and add 3 tbsp peanut oil.  Once the oil is hot, add eggplants in batches and stir-fry until golden on the outside and beginning to soften.  Once each batch of eggplant is done, remove the eggplant and drain on paper towels.  If the wok looks dry at any point, drizzle in more oil.

Add 1 tbsp peanut oil to the wok.  Add chili bean paste and stir-fry until the oil is red and fragrant, about 20 seconds.  Add ginger and garlic and stir-fry until fragrant, about 20-30 seconds.  Add stock, sugar and soy sauce.  Mix well.  Once the sauce begins to simmer, return the eggplant to the wok.  Simmer gently for a few minutes.  Add cornstarch mixture and stir gently to thicken.  After sauce has thickened, stir in vinegar and scallions.  Remove from the heat and stir in the sesame oil.

Serve with rice.