We Chinese cooks love to prepare eggplant in many different ways: braised, pickled, steamed, grilled, smoked, roasted or simply stir-fried, as in this recipe. Roughly sliced regular eggplants are fine to use instead of Japanese eggplants.
400g Japanese eggplants
3 tbsp peanut oil
5cm piece ginger, finely sliced
3 garlic cloves, roughly crushed
¼ cup shao hsing wine
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp malt vinegar
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 large red chilli, finely sliced lengthways
1. Remove stems from eggplants and cut into one-centimetre slices on the diagonal.
2. Heat two tablespoons of the peanut oil in a hot wok until the surface seems to shimmer slightly. Add eggplant and stir-fry for about 2½ minutes, being careful not to let it burn.
3. Add remaining peanut oil to wok with ginger and garlic and stir-fry for one minute.
4. Add shao hsing wine and sugar and stir-fry for one minute. Add remaining ingredients and stir-fry for a further minute. Serve immediately.
This rich and intensely flavoured dish makes a great accompaniment to a more delicately flavoured dish such as steamed snapper with ginger and shallots, or alongside fried rice for a simple and quick meal. You can substitute a splash of leftover red or white wine for the shao hsing – a hint of alcohol adds depth and character.