Stir fried Szechuan Aubergine by Jan O'Leary
2 medium aubergines
2 tsp salt (following step 2 below)
1 tbsp cornflour
2 tbsp vegetable oil (e.g. sunflower - not olive oil)
2 spring onions, sliced thinly
½-1 red chilli or a pinch of chilli flakes, depending on your tolerance
3 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
2.5 cm piece of ginger, finely diced
sesame seeds, to garnish (optional)
3 tbsp / 45 ml soy sauce
4 tsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp maple syrup, agave nectar or honey
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp sriracha or other hot chili sauce
2 tsp cornflour (dissolved in 2 tbsp of water)
1. Cut aubergines into 3-4 thick slices and then each slice into wedges lengthwise.
2. OPTIONAL: Place aubergine pieces in a colander over a deep plate. Sprinkle liberally with salt and set aside for the salt to draw the bitterness out. After 45 mins, wash the salt off and blot the aubergine dry with a kitchen towel.
3. Put the aubergine and cornflower into a ziplock bag and shake to coat the aubergine.
4. Heat up 1 tbsp of oil in a large non-stick pan or a wok, on medium/high heat. Once the oil is smoking slightly, add the aubergine and fry until gently charred on the outside and cooked through. Once ready, set aside.
5. In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, maple syrup (or agave or honey), sriracha, sesame oil and 3 tbsp of water. In another small bowl, combine ½ tbsp cornflour with 2 tbsp of water to thicken the sauce with later.
6. Heat up 1 tbsp of oil in the wok or pan until smoking. Add spring onions and sliced chilli (if using). Stir fry until soft (about 1-2 minutes), then add diced ginger and garlic – fry until they both soften and become fragrant (about 1 minute).
7. Pour in the sauce, followed by the cornflour/water slurry. Mix the two well. Simmer the sauce gently for a few seconds so that it can thicken.
8. Stir in grilled aubergine to warm it up gently. Serve over a bowl of steaming hot rice, garnished with sesame seeds and/or sliced spring onions.
- Alberto Llaguno