- 1 1/2 lbs Japanese Eggplant (about 4 x 10 inch eggplants)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- bowl of water
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2–4 tablespoons peanut oil ( or wok oil)
- 4 cloves garlic, rough chopped
- 2 teaspoons ginger, finely minced
- 5–10 dried red chilies
- 1 teaspoon Szechuan peppercorns ( or sub regular peppercorns)
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon garlic chili paste ( or sub 1 teaspoon chili flakes)
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Chinese cooking wine (or mirin)
- 3 tablespoons sugar, brown sugar, coconut sugar, maple syrup or alternative
- 1/2 teaspoon five spice Garnish with scallions and roasted peanuts or this Peanut Chili crunch
- Cut eggplant into 1/2 inch thick half-moons or into bite-sized pieces ( see photos). Place in a big bowl covered with water and stir in 2 teaspoons salt. Cover with a plate and let stand 15 minutes.
- In the meantime, chop the garlic and ginger and make the Szechuan Sauce.
- To make the Szechuan Sauce: Toast the Szechuan peppercorns in a dry skillet over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Crush. Place these along with the remaining ingredients ( soy, chili paste, sesame oil, rice vinegar, Chinese cooking wine, sugar, and five spice) in a small bowl and whisk. Set by the stove.
- Drain the eggplant and pat dry with a towel. Toss with the corn starch.
- Working in 2 batches, heat 1 -2 tablespoons oil in an extra-large skillet over medium heat. Add half the eggplant spreading them out. You want to get both sides nice and golden, and the insides cooked through -so take your time here and dont rush this step. Let one side brown then turn them over using tongs. This will take about 10 minutes for each batch. ( If in a hurry sometimes I’ll use 2 pans.) Set the eggplant aside.
- Add 1 more tablespoon oil to the skillet, and over medium heat, add the garlic and ginger, stirring for 2 minutes. Turn the fan on, add the dried chilis and stir one minute. Pour the Szechuan sauce into the pan and bring to a simmer for 20 seconds. Add the eggplant back into the skillet, tossing gently for about 1 minute. If it seems dry add a tablespoon of water to loosen.
- Place in a serving dish and top with scallions and optional peanuts.
- Serve with rice, cauliflower rice, black rice or rice noodles.
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