Friday, May 28, 2010

Eggplant in spicy ginger-garlic sauce

Do you like eggplant? I know there are either 'haters' or 'lovers' in each of us when it comes to eggplant. I love eggplant. My eggplant fascination goes a long, long way. Back when I was a kid, I used to wait eagerly for my granny to make her Vangibath recipe. Nothing, nothing can pull me away from tamarind and other sour food. I love tamarind and could possibly eat it by itself. Okay, I have done that too. But then, I digress.

Actually not. That is the major reason why I love Chinese cuisine. Or, at least the Indo-Chinese food. Its sweet, sour and spicy - all at the same time. However, for all my eggplant fascination, I'm no fan of soggy eggplant in a Chinese sauce. A is. He loves all kinds of vegetables and anything Chinese. So, every single time we go to a Chinese restaurant, he is always wanting to try this dish and I keep avoiding it. Thanks to me being the dominant one in the relationship (I needn't have specified that now, right?), we've escaped the eggplant dish so far.


That said, beggars can't be choosers. Especially, when you beg your husband to cook fantastic food when its your turn to indulge him. How much A loves cooking is actually an understatement on this blog now. And in my life too. I take it for granted every evening that A will come up with something. This is one of those dishes that I couldn't him stop him from making. I agreed on a sulky note to just make do with the gravy and tofu in the dish.

Well, what do you expect, ladies and gentlemen, I was wrong. Yet again. This is one of my favorite Chinese dishes now. I can't claim that all eggplant haters will love this dish, but surely, do try it and let us know how you liked it! Here is the recipe.


1 large eggplant, cut into 1 to 1.5" chunks
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup tofu, cubed and fried with minimal oil until crisp on both sides
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 scallion, bulb and green part separated
3-4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
3-4 tbsp coarsely chopped ginger
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp molasses (optional)
1 tbsp vinegar
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp canned tomato sauce or puree
2-3 tbsp soy sauce
salt and cayenne pepper powder to taste
1-2 tsp red chilli flakes
1/3-1/2 cups water.
1 tbsp sesame seeds

1. Get started on the sauce. Take 1-2 tsp sesame oil when hot, add sesame seeds, garlic and ginger. When the garlic starts to turn brown, add the tomato sauce. When is almost cooked, add the molasses, brown sugar, soy sauce, cayenne pepper powder, salt, both vinegars and water. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let things simmer for 10-15 mins. Add the tofu at the 5 minute mark so that it absorbs all the flavors.

2. While the sauce simmers, in a separate pan, fry the eggplant on medium heat until tender but not mushy. Add some salt and red pepper flakes to it while its cooking. Keep it separate.

3. In the same pan, fry the onions with some oil, salt and red pepper flakes.

4. Add the eggplant and pour the sauce on top. Cook until the eggplants almost turn soft, about 5-6 mins. This will also let the flavors to absorb further.

5. Top with chopped greens from the scallion.

Enjoy it hot with rice!


It has this nuttiness thanks to the sesame seeds and the crisp tofu works great against the soft eggplant. I'm sure this'd go great with whole wheat noodles or rice vermicelli too! We had it with hot steaming rice and ate it with our hands :D I think, for meals like this, eating with hands wins hands down (pun unintended!) as against with a fork!

What do you think?


Jaya Wagle said...

This sounds suspiciously like what happens in our house in terms of liking/ hating the eggplant. The only way I can eat it is in bharta. He can eat it any which way and yeah, nothing better than husband cooking, though mine doesn't do it every day, he does get the tingle in the fingers to mince, chop and saute'.

Does the eggplant taste like the PF Chang eggplant dish? Cause it looks like one, though I have never had it. Just watched him and friends eat and rave about it.

Love the ease of the recipe. Maybe a keeper for father's day surprise.

Indhu said...

I am on the fence with eggplant.. like it in "ennai kathrikkai"... hate it in anything else... I think I want to drink this sauce... it looks soo yummm..

and you are sooo right about digging into the food with your hands (it does bring to mind a gross image - digging into food with hands)... but you know what I mean... and licking your fingers at the end of the meal.. heavenly :)

Nandita said...

Like jaya me too was in 'only bharta' category- now it's a must in most Italian cooking. I want to try out this Chinese version! Eating with hands surely gives a more superior experience :)

shankari said...

Same pinch- I can eat tamarind by itself- green, ripe any kind. Coming back to the topic I love eggplant too. I make something like this, but add basil right in the end

aquadaze said...

I have realised that it is not really the eggplant per se that I like or dislike. It is more the way it is made that decides the fate of the eggplant.

This looks like something I think I'd love to eat. The pictures are gorgeous and I love that plate.

Sig said...

I grew up an eggplant hater, now I am a liker, not yet a lover. I do "love" this one Chinese dish, eggplant stuffed with shrimp paste and deep fried. I've also tasted the dish that you have here, actually just garlic sauce I think, from chinese restaurants and it sure is yummy. And your version, I mean A's version does look very tasty.

Priti said...

I don't knw when I started to like eggplant...this looks yum...the sauce looks just perfect...if this is done by A then perhaps you can send this to my on-going His Cooking Event, you can check the details in my blog ..:)

sra said...

I quite like eggplant now, esp when it's stuffed and deep-fried and all the stuffing comes oozing out.

I'm not a fan of using cutlery to eat rice mixed with gravy - it's not fulfilling.

Asha said...

Love Eggplants, specially green B'lore ones. Not a fan of purple huge Eggplant we get here but something is better than nothing. I only get good Eggplants from Indian store.

Love he color of that dish, gorgeous and looks tasty. Have a fun weekend, 3 days off. See you on Tuesday!:)

kusublakki said...

I think the pictures look lovely :)
And thanks for this recipe -- me being an eggplant lover, I can't wait to get myself to cook this :)

Priya said...

Omg, cant take my eyes from the click, super tempting dish..

Chitra said...

wow, wat a click.. feel like having it rite now :)

Cakelaw said...

Eggplant? Spicy ginger and garlic sauce? I am sold!!!!

Linda said...

Hi A and N, came across your post through your comment at Mandira's blog -- and the dish looks delicious!

Might I suggest, for a variation, Asian eggplant (ichiban is my favorite to grow but there are others to buy) ... no salting, no soaking, no bitter seeds, no peeling of tough skin... all brinjal love :)

Best wishes from Massachusetts!

PreeOccupied said...

Your spicy eggplant is something very similar to a Thai Eggplant dish I love...I like your recipe...I can imagine the taste in my mouth...I am doing to try this out soon and let you know.

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Jasmine said...

I'll follow your recipe to the last detail and hopefully i can have it done perfectly. 'll try it and share with my family.