SICHUAN EXPRESS Spicy Sichuan Eggplant Rice Sliced pear and lychee salad with lemon dressing Chinese almond cookies Jasmine tea Looking for a quick dish to serve for Chinese New Year? Spicy Sichuan Eggplant is a great aromatic stir-fry, hot and slightly sweet. The small amount of pork serves as a seasoning for the vegetable.
When shopping for eggplants, select those with light green stems that are heavy for their size and have a clear, dark, glossy color with no cuts or brown spots. The long Japanese eggplants are the best for stir-fry dishes because they have fewer and smaller seeds than the larger eggplants. They also have thinner, more tender skins.
Some tips to remember when stir-frying: Have all ingredients measured or chopped before beginning. Be sure your wok is hot before adding the oil to begin frying--this helps prevent sticking. Your wok should be large enough that ingredients are not overcrowded. This will prevent uneven cooking and also spills during brisk stirring.
Rice provides an excellent accompaniment to this dish. Most microwave individual boil-in-the-bag rice can be prepared in seven to 10 minutes time.
Serve a simple fruit salad of sliced pears and lychee fruit with a bottled lemon dressing for dessert.
For dessert, almond cookies may be purchased in the ethnic section of a local supermarket along with the jasmine tea. Gung hay fat choy!
SPICY SICHUAN EGGPLANT
4 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon oil
1 small ginger root
1 small jar hot Chinese chile sauce
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can clear chicken broth
4 Japanese eggplants
1/4 pound ground pork
1 (14-ounce) can straw mushrooms
1 bunch green onions
1. Measure 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 teaspoons rice vinegar, 2 teaspoons sugar and 1 teaspoon hot Chinese chile sauce into small glass dish.
2. Mince 4 cloves garlic. Mince ginger to measure 2 teaspoons. Add to soy mixture.
3. Gradually stir 2/3 cup chicken broth into 2 teaspoons cornstarch until smooth and blended. Add soy mixture to broth mixture, stirring until blended. Set aside.
4. Cut 4 Japanese eggplants into 2-inch strips.
5. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in wok until hot. Add eggplant and 1/4 pound ground pork. Saute until eggplant is lightly browned and tender.
6. Stir in 1 cup drained straw mushrooms.
7. Stir in cornstarch mixture, Heat to boiling, stirring until mixture is thickened and clear.
8. Spoon into serving dish. Eggplant may be garnished with julienne strips of green onion, if desired.
Makes 4 servings.