Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Eggplant Sichuan-style

This is a recipe we are having tonight for dinner. I found it in the book The Thrifty Kitchen by Suzanne Gibbs and Kate Gibbs.

This book came out last year and had been very popular. I have the hard-back version but noticed it is now also out in softcover so it must have done well. It has lots of good basic information for running a kitchen with minimum waste and without it costing you a bomb. I think if you are already a  reasonably thrifty or frugal cook like me, or you do a whole lot of scratch cooking then it's probably not a great purchase but if you are starting out or trying to learn ways to be more economical in the kitchen then it is worth getting.

It would be a great book for someone moving out of home, learning to cook or someone who wants to cut their grocery budget but not the quality of what they eat.

I really liked this particular recipe when I first made it because it was a bit different to Asian-style dishes I had made before and because I love eggplant. We usually make this as part of a "Chinese feast" when we have starters like spring rolls or san choi bow and then a couple of mains. Tonight, however we will just have this and rice.

This is my slightly adapted version...which suits better what we eat and keep in our pantry which makes it more thrifty.

Eggplant Sichuan-style
2 medium size regular eggplant, diced
oil, for frying
1 teaspoon of rice wine or dry sherry
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon vinegar (I have used white and cider..basically whatever I have)
1 teaspoon sugar
1  clove of garlic crushed
1 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce (adjust to taste or use a fresh chilli you you have them)
1/2 an onion finely diced
1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger
125g lean pork of chicken mince
1/2 a cup of coriander leaves (I have used parsley when i didn't have coriander or you could use mint)
steamed rice to serve

1. Heat oil in wok and fry eggplant in batches until slightly browned and tender. You will need to add oil for each batch. Set aside on paper towel to drain. Mix rice wine or sherry, soy sauce, vinegar and sugar and set aside.

2. Heat another dollop of oil in wok then stir fry garlic, leek and ginger until onion is soft (if using real chilli add now, if using sweet chilli sauce add later). Add the pork or chicken mince and stir fry over heat for 5 minutes or until cooked.

3. Add rice wine mix and chilli sauce, then eggplant. Stir fry until everything is coated in sauce. Stir through coriander and serve immediately with steamed rice.


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