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Spicy Garlic Aubergine

Silky batons of aubergine studded with garlic and smothered in spicy sauce

About halfway down one of the quieter streets in London’s Chinatown, there’s an orange and black shopfront with a large window, where three chefs put on a show to lure in the passing trade. They’re busily making tray after tray of the delicate little xiaolongbao, or soup dumplings, that their restaurant is named after.

But I’ve come for something else.

Inside the modest, laid-back homestyle restaurant is one of my favourite dishes: Aubergine in Spicy Sauce. It sounds simple, and in many ways it is: smooth strips of aubergine served with a slick, spicy sauce that is crammed full of garlic and ginger. A plate of spicy aubergine with a big bowl of rice will keep me quiet for a good 30 minutes!

Today’s recipe is inspired by Beijing Dumpling’s phenomenally tasty dish. Aubergine is a terrific meat-free option because it has a lovely fleshy texture that feels substantial and also holds flavours very well. And this dish is ready in just moments, so it’s ideal for a weekday meal too.

P.S I’ve only included one blurry-ish image of the dish (taken on my phone!) because I’ve gone and left my SD card at Amy’s place (who happens to be away on holiday at the moment, d’oh!).

Serves
2, with rice
Ingredients

1 large aubergine, sliced into 4cm batons
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 tbsp ginger, finely diced
1 red chilli, finely diced
1 tbsp chilli bean paste (doubanjiang) – you could substitute with oyster sauce, for a less spicy but still delicious end result)
2 spring onions, finely sliced
vegetable oil
2 tsp cornflour

for the sauce
2 tsp Chinkiang or balsamic vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp light soy sauce
2 pinches salt
150ml chicken or vegetable stock

About halfway down one of the quieter streets in London’s Chinatown, there’s an orange and black shopfront with a large window, where three chefs put on a show to lure in the passing trade. They’re busily making tray after tray of the delicate little xiaolongbao, or soup dumplings, that their restaurant is named after.

But I’ve come for something else.

Inside the modest, laid-back homestyle restaurant is one of my favourite dishes: Aubergine in Spicy Sauce. It sounds simple, and in many ways it is: smooth strips of aubergine served with a slick, spicy sauce that is crammed full of garlic and ginger. A plate of spicy aubergine with a big bowl of rice will keep me quiet for a good 30 minutes!

Today’s recipe is inspired by Beijing Dumpling’s phenomenally tasty dish. Aubergine is a terrific meat-free option because it has a lovely fleshy texture that feels substantial and also holds flavours very well. And this dish is ready in just moments, so it’s ideal for a weekday meal too.

P.S I’ve only included one blurry-ish image of the dish (taken on my phone!) because I’ve gone and left my SD card at Amy’s place (who happens to be away on holiday at the moment, d’oh!).

GET THE METHOD →

In a small bowl, stir together all of the ingredients for the sauce.
Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a wok over a high heat. Add the aubergine batons and turn occasionally for 2-3 minutes until the batons are slightly charred. Remove from the wok and set aside.
Turn the heat down to medium and add another teaspoon of vegetable oil to the wok. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli and stir fry for a few seconds until fragrant. Add the chilli bean paste and stir fry for a few seconds, then return the aubergine batons to the wok along with the prepared sauce.
Simmer the aubergine in the sauce on a low-medium heat for 2-3 minutes, until the batons have softened slightly but still have some bite. In a small bowl, stir together the cornflour and 2 tbsp of water. Turn the heat down to low then add in the cornflour mixture. Stir to combine with the sauce, the bring the heat back up to medium. Allow the sauce to thicken and bubble for a further minute, then serve immediately with steamed rice.
  • Stephen Landsman

    Sounds great! Making it tonight! Thanks, Julie!

  • Andrea

    I love eggplant (aubergine). I can’t wait to try this!!!!

  • Stephen Landsman

    Ok… Votes are in… WE LOVED IT! This will be a new regular in our rotation of favorites. Thank you so much!

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