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Asian Eggplant


1/4 cup vegetable oil
a 1 1/4-pound eggplant, peeled if desired and cut into 1/2-inch
cubes (about 6 cups)
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh gingerroot
2 to 3 teaspoons Szechwan chili paste*, or to taste
1 teaspoon hoisin sauce*
1 tablespoon rice vinegar* or white-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon dry Sherry
3 scallions, sliced thin
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon firmly packed light brown sugar
1 red bell pepper, minced
1/2 teaspoon Oriental sesame oil, or to taste
white pita and whole-wheat pita, cut into wedges,
as an accompaniment

In a wok or large skillet heat the vegetable oil over high heat until it
is hot but not smoking and in it stir-fry the eggplant over moderately
high heat for 3 to 5 minutes, or until it is tender and browned. Transfer
the eggplant with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain.

In a small bowl dissolve the cornstarch in the broth. To the wok add the
garlic, the gingerroot, the chili paste, the hoisin sauce, the vinegar,
and the Sherry and stir-fry the mixture for 30 seconds. Add the scallions
and stir-fry the mixture for 30 seconds. Add the soy sauce, the brown
sugar, the cornstarch mixture, stirred, the bell pepper, and the eggplant
and stir-fry the mixture for 1 minute, or until the eggplant has absorbed
most of the liquid. Remove the wok from the heat, add the sesame oil and
salt and pepper to taste, and toss the mixture well. The eggplant mixture
may be made 1 day in advance and kept covered and chilled. Transfer the
eggplant mixture to a bowl and serve it with the pita wedges.

Makes about 4 cups.

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A trio of Asian-style eggplant dishes - I make the first one and really like it. I use the sauce instructions for other dishes.