Eggplant Hoisin

Ingredients:

4 T vegetable oil, divided use
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
3 T soy sauce, low sodium
1 T sweet soy sauce
1 T sesame oil
1 T ginger rice vinegar
1 green pepper, deseeded and cut into chunks
1 cup red onion, cut into chunks
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 t ginger, minced
4 green onions, thin sliced, white and light green only
3 small Asian eggplants, about 4 cups sliced

Serve with: brown rice and either dumplings or steam buns

Spoon Mage™ Note:

Eggplant Hoisin is delicious as a side for four or a main for two when served over rice.

The sweet soy sauce is a necessary ingredient. Do get a bottle as it is simply wonderful in many dishes. Find it in many grocers or Asian markets. If you cannot find it there, google for it on line. Don’t worry, it is not over sweet.

Regular rice vinegar works just fine. You should double the ginger. You don’t want to use too much though or it will overpower the eggplant.

If you have wokked before and were disappointed because your veggies turned out soggy, the reason is quite simple. You followed a recipe that said to start the wok on medium-high.

When you add the ingredients to the wok, the cooking temperature drops and will slowly rise again. This brief spell at medium heat is enough to change dinner from crispy to soggy.

Start the wok on high and reduce to medium-high only to avoid smoky oil or once you have added your final ingredients. In this recipe, everything happens very fast and you should not have to reduce the heat until you add the hoisin sauce mixture.

Begin cooking the rice first as the simmer allows you just the right amount of time to leisurely prep the rest of the ingredients. Start to wok when the rice sits off heat.

Always prep eggplants last. That way you do not need to do the salt soak which leaches out so much of the flavor and vitamins.

If you are heating up steam buns, set them over steam before you start the wok.

Eggplant Hoisin with brown rice and a steam bun

Directions:

In a small bowl, whisk together the hoisin sauce, both soy sauces, sesame oil and ginger rice vinegar.

Chop the green pepper and onion, place them in a separate bowl.

Prep the garlic, ginger, and green onions, place in a small bowl.

While the wok heats, cut the eggplant into slices about 1/4″ or so thick.. Peeling is optional.

Heat a wok over high heat. When the wok is very hot while you hover your hand a few inches overhead (please be careful), add 3 tablespoons of the vegetable oil, swirl to coat the wok. Wait 30 seconds.

Add the eggplant and stir-fry until tender, about 6-8 minutes (depends upon how thick your chunks are). You will see the color change that will tell you when they are done, but you could stab one with a fork if you are unsure.

Pause between stirs in order to allow the eggplant to both cook and brown because it will sit directly on the hot wok. Flip the individuals that do not turn over as you stir. Sometimes eggplants will get a little obstinate.

After the eggplants are only just cooked throughout, pour the slices into a bowl and set them aside.

If you reduced the heat (really, did you need to?), return to high and add the final tablespoon of oil to the wok, swirling to coat.

Add the green pepper and onion, cook for 2 minutes. Stir frequently, but not constantly. If the wok is nice and hot, the veggies will take on just a little brown.

Add the garlic, ginger, and green onion and stir-fry 30 seconds. Stir this constantly and watch carefully so you do not burn the garlic. Do not let it go longer. Count out in your head.

Return the eggplant to the pan and stir to combine.

Stir in the hoisin stir-fry sauce mixture.

Let the sauce simmer a few minutes while you get the rest of the meal on the table, then serve immediately.

Enjoy.

Eggplant Hoisin

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