To tell you the truth, I don't really know what to call this dish. It is truly an "ABCD" - American Born Chinese Dish..... It takes a bit from a bunch of different dishes I've eaten. I'd love to call it "Gan Shao Qie Zi"(干燒茄子), dry braised eggplant, but this really isn't that either. The dish was born from necessity. The Missus loves eggplant, but at the time.... almost twelve years ago, all we had was a lousy electric stove. Also, since eggplant is a real "oil sponge" we really didn't want to use very much oil, especially without high heat.
I'm sure most of you have created your own hybrid dishes born of necessity. This one is ours. Basically, the eggplant starts in a smoking wok, but once color is achieved, the heat is turned down to medium.
The eggplant is flavored during cooking with some of our favorite ingredients. Items are added as the various liquids are absorbed by the eggplant.
Once the eggplant has been cooked as desired an additional sauce is mixed with the eggplant.
And though I'm still not quite convinced this is worth a post, I'm tired of looking at the photos. Maybe you all can share the recipes born of necessity that you've kept from your college dorm or apartment days. I'm sure you've come up with some pretty innovative stuff and I'd love to read about it!
1 1/2 - 2 lbs Chinese Eggplant cubed
3-4 Dried Chilies
3-4 Tb dried shrimp
5 cloves of garlic minced
1 Tb granulated sugar
2-3 Tb soy sauce
2-3 Tb Chinkiang Black Vinegar
2-3 Tb Shaoxing - drinking quality
Water if necessary
Salt and White Pepper to taste
3-4 Tb Canola Oil
- Mix sauce ingredients.
- Heat a wok until smoking
- Add canola oil and scald dry chilies
- Add eggplant and dried shrimp and stir fry.
- When the eggplant starts to color add Shaoxing and turn heat to medium.
- Add black vinegar, garlic, and sugar, and mix. Cover for 2 minutes to soften eggplant.
- Uncover and stir fry over medium heat until liquid is absorbed, and eggplant starts to turn "dry".
- Add soy sauce and keep stir frying.
- If eggplant has not softened add water 2 tablespoons at a time, mix, cover, and repeat, until eggplant is fully cooked through.
- Taste the eggplant, it should have some flavor even without the sauce.
- Using your Chinese spatula, manipulate the eggplant until the desired texture is achieved.
- Once the eggplant has reached your desired texture, add the sauce, mix quickly, and remove from heat.
- Add chili oil to taste, and garnish with cilantro.