Eggplants are a seasonal vegetable in Summer and early Autumn in China. For shapes, there are round ones, almost cylinder-shaped ones, and long and thin ones (See the picture above . ) For colors, there are purple ones, dark purple ones, green ones and white ones. In North China, round purple eggplants are very common (I have not found them in the US) and people excel in making savory eggplant sauces for noodles. There are many other cooking ways for eggplants in China, such as quick stir frying, braising or steaming for a cold dish. Alike many local tough local leafy greens in the US, the texture of many species of eggplants in the US is tougher too. The eggplants in the picture above with a soft texture are tagged as Chinese eggplants in many Asian stores. A plate of cooked eggplants is one of the best dishes to be served with rice.
I seldom order an eggplant dish in a Chinese restaurant in the US because it is too salty and greasy. Eggplants do absorb oil easily. However, are there ways to prevent them from absorbing much oil? Definitely yes. There is a very simple tip. Marinate your eggplants with some salt first and use your hands to squeeze water out as much as you can. This way also help eggplants cooked faster.
The dish I am showing today is quickly and easily made. As the post’s name suggests, it is also very tasty because eggplants fully absorbs the aroma of garlic and chili bean paste. Garlic is always the integral sauce, no matter what ways you use to cook eggplants. Chili bean paste is broad beans fermented usually with salt, chili and oil . It can be called the soul of Sichuan cuisine. It’s a little spicy, salty and aromatic.
Chinese Eggplants with garlic and chili bean paste
- Three Chinese eggplants, about one pound, chopped into one-inch cubes
- Half a teaspoon of salt (for marinating)
- Two cloves of garlic, peeled and diced
- One teaspoon of chili bean paste
- Half a tablespoon of grapeseed oil
- Half a teaspoon of grapeseed oil
- One teaspoon of LEE KUM KEE DOUBLE FERMENTED SOY SAUCE
- Salt to taste
- Combine evenly eggplants and half a teaspoon salt in a bowl and set it aside for five minutes.
- Use your hands to take a handful of eggplants to squeeze water out as much as possible. Keep repeating until you finish squeezing all the eggplants.
- Heat half a tablespoon of grapeseed oil in the wok and stir fry the eggplants over high flame until 80% cooked, for four minutes.
- Transfer the eggplants to a plate.
- Heat half a teaspoon of grapeseed oil in the wok and stir fry garlic and chili bean paste until aromatic, for 30 seconds.
- Return eggplants and add soy sauce to stir fry for three minutes over high flame.
- Add salt to taste.
- Transfer to a serving bowl (plate) and serve warmly with rice.
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