HOLY SMOKE peeps, these are on.the.money. if you’re looking for something hot, something vegetarian and something addictive that is not chocolate or doughnuts. And well, savoury.
Here is my biggest tip in the whole Asian cooking thing. As far as I’m concerned it is the zenith for mis-en-place. Have all your ducks lined up in a row people, have it beside the stove and go go go. GO!
From Neil Perry, balance & harmony Asian food
- 550g Japanese eggplants
- 500ml vegetable oil
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 knob ginger, finely chopped
- 3 spring onions, finely sliced
- 3tbsp shaoxing
- 3tbsp hot bean paste
- 2 1/2 tbsp yellow bean soy sauce (I just used dark soy)
- 100ml rice vinegar
- 65g (1/3 cup) crushed yellow rock sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground Szechuan pepper
- Cut the eggplants in half lengthways while the oil is heating in the wok. Once it’s smoking then deep-fry the eggplants until golden brown. This doesn’t take that long, and I just turned them every so often.I often find deep-frying quite stressful, the whole is it cooked enough, is the oil hot enough, too hot, blah blah blah. Now I just wait until it’s really smoking and then hope for the best. If I’m deep-frying something like chicken with bones in it then I will cook until golden and put on a rack in the oven (on about 180C) while I cook the rest of it. Seems to work a treat.
- Pour that oil into a container, then put about 2 tablespoons of oil in the pan and once smoking add the shallots, ginger and garlic. Keep them moving and once you can really smell their goodness then add the shaoxing.
- Then add the chilli paste, soy, vinegar and sugar. (Have this all measured and in a bowl together so you can just toss it in.) Bring to the boil and cook for two minutes.
- Add the eggplants, mashing them slightly so they absorb more of the flavour and cook for another two minutes.
- Turn onto a plate and scatter over some more shallots and ground Szechuan pepper.