Monday, July 2, 2012

Asian Eggplant Salad--Szechuan Style

I love eggplants in all their incarnations and I am very determinated to convince people who do not like them that they are worth trying. When I found this recipe on pages from the Metropolitan Home magazine. I thought I had to make it one day.

It seemed a wonderful summer dish that can accompany grilled meats or be served alone with bread or rice.

The other day I bought Asian eggplants, perfect for this recipe. They are longer and thinner than their Italian cousins, but similar in taste. I think that if the Asian eggplants are not available they can be replaced with the Italian eggplants. All excited I went to the kitchen and in no time my salad was ready.

The dish turned out better than expected. This naturally mild in taste vegetable got a lot of flavor from the added Asian spices. It was very refreshing. I let the salad stay over night in a refrigerator. On the next day, the spices infused the eggplants even more and the salad tasted even better. Here it is to try.

Asian Eggplant Salad

3 Asian eggplants or about 1lb, if you use a different type,
1 red bell pepper,
1/4 cup soy sauce,
2 tbsp rice wine,
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar,
2 tbsp sugar,
1/2 tsp salt,
1/4 cup rice bran or vegetable oil,
6 garlic cloves, minced,
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger,
2 tbsp fresh jalapeno pepper, chopped,
coriander leaves for garnish.

1. Trim the ends of the eggplants. Cut them lengthwise, then in half and then in thick sticks.
2. Remove the ends and the seeds from the bell pepper. Cut it into sticks similar to eggplants.
3. In small bowl mix soy sauce, rice vinegar, balsamic vinegar, sugar and salt.
4. Preheat a large wok or a heavy duty frying pan on a very high heat. Add oil and add garlic, ginger, and jalapeno. Stir fry for about 20 seconds. Add eggplants and stir fry for about 3-4 minutes, until they begin to turn brown.
5. Add to the wok bell peppers and fry for another 2 minutes.

6. Swirl in the sauce to the wok, reduce heat, and cook until eggplants are tender.
7. Cool down, refrigerate for at least two hours. Serve cold decorated with fresh coriander leaves.