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Eggplant for dinner

I had some amazing eggplant in garlic sauce from a local chinese restaurant, and I have been hankering to have it again ever since.

So I bought an eggplant.

I did not, however, get around to buying garlic sauce.

So when faced with the dilemma of making something else for dinner or pulling some crazy recipe out of my ass, what do you think I did?

Well, okay, I first checked for recipes in my chinese cookbook, but it only had two eggplant recipes: one required a larger steaming apparatus than I have and the other included pork and sake, neither of which I had on hand (all the pork is frozen).

So… Here’s what I did:

  • Line a jelly roll sheet (baking sheet with 4 raised sides) with aluminum foil. Stab your eggplant a few times so it doesn’t explode.
    • Put the eggplant on the sheet, and pop it into the oven – on broil. Turn the eggplant occasionally so that the skin chars evenly (just like roasting a bell pepper).
    • When it is almost finished, turn off the oven and walk away. I suggest watching an episode of Stargate: Atlantis.
    • When cool, lift the eggplant away from all of the liquid that has oozed out. You aren’t saving this liquid – it’s all bitter and nasty. Hold by the stem, and just peel off strips of skin until it all starts to fall apart on you. Then transfer to a surface and peel the rest. At this point, I tip the worst of the liquid down the sink and then just bundle up all of the peel and sticky foil and toss it. (and if you are lucky, the pan is still clean.) And then cut half inch strips of eggplant across the grain and one or two lengthwise.
  • Random stuff I threw together to make the liquid bit:
    • 1/4 cup chicken stock
    • 1 teaspoon sambal olek (okay, so I totally sniffed at the sauce later and added another heaping teaspoon, but I hadn’t realized I was going to end up with a slow simmer cooking thing, and peppers build heat the longer you cook them – so it was a little too spicy for me. Therefore, just one teaspoon.)
    • 1 teaspoon black vinegar
    • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
    • 1 teaspoon manischewitz wine (to sweeten, and because sherry seems popular in asian cooking and I don’t own any)
    • 1 inch ginger, minced finely
    • 2 large cloves of garlic, minced finely
    • 3/4 teaspoon steak sauce (cause it seemed a bit thin)
    • 1 teaspoon oyster sauce (because that was the real answer to the thin problem)
  • And now to the main event:
    • Get 1/2 c asian short grain rice to boiling
    • Immediately after you turn down the heat and set the rice to steaming, heat up some oil in a pan (I used about 4 teaspoons of olive oil, a sprinkle of chili oil, and a little bit of sesame oil).
    • Throw in the eggplant and toss it around a bit so that it makes good friends with the oil (MMmmm – eggplants love oil).
    • And then I added the liquid and turned the heat down low and left it (stirring occasionally) until the rice was finished.
  • And then it was pretty tasty.

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