For the Sauce
2 tablespoons chicken broth
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon plum sauce
4 Chinese eggplants (about 1 pound), stems removed
Vegetable oil for deep-frying
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced ginger
½ fresh red or green jalapeño chili, sliced into thin rings
Pinch ground toasted Sichuan peppercorns
Chopped cilantro or sliced green onions
1. Prepare the sauce: stir the stock, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, lemon juice and plum sauce together in a small bowl until blended.
2. With a vegetable peeler, remove 1-inch strips of the eggplant skin, leaving a 1-inch strip of skin in between. Cut the eggplant into fourth lengthwise, then cut each section crosswise into 3-inch pieces.
3. Pour enough oil into a 2-quart saucepan to fill 3 inches. Heat over medium heat to 350°F. Deep-fry the eggplant pieces in 2 batches until tender, 1 ½ to 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain well on paper towels. Reserve the oil.
4. Heat a wok over high heat until hot. Add 1 tablespoon of the reserved oil and swirl to coat the sides. Add the garlic, ginger, chili and Sichuan pepper and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Add the sauce and bring to a simmer. Add the cooked eggplant and stir to coat. Scoop onto a warm serving platter. Serve, garnish with basil leaves and cilantro or green onions.
Serves 4 as part of amulti-course meal
“Martin Yan’s Chinatown Cooking” © 2002 by A La Carte Communications