This has got to be one of my favourite eggplant dishes. The best version I had was at a Chinese restaurant in the city centre of New York, near Carnegie Hall.
500 g eggplant, washed, dried well, then cut into 6 x 2 cm batons, 2 cm thick
vegetable oil, for deep frying
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
optional: 1/2 T cornstarch dissolved in 1 T water
2 T oyster sauce
2 T light soy sauce
1 T white vinegar
1 T Shaoxing wine
1 T caster sugar
2 T water
1/2 t soy bean sauce
Place all sauce ingredients in a bowl and whisk until well combined.
Heat oil in wok and deep-fry eggplant in batches at 150°C. Check oil temperature is correct before frying each batch. Fry eggplant for 1 minute and drain on paper towels.
Carefully remove oil from wok leaving about 1 teaspoon. Heat wok at high heat and stir-fry garlic for 5 seconds. Add sauce then reduce heat and simmer for 20 seconds. Add eggplant and simmer for another 10 seconds.
If you want to thicken the sauce, add 1-2 t of the cornstarch paste, stirring it well before adding to the wok and heat until desired consistency. Transfer to plate and garnish with sliced shallots or coriander leaves.
Serves 4 as part of a banquet or two if just served with rice. This dish goes well in a banquet with the egg and tomato fried rice.
Note: Soy bean sauce is available from Asian grocers. You can omit it if you can't find it but it does add a nice complexity to the sauce.
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