Each piece of eggplant is dark and shiny and plump and soft, with wonderful complex flavors coming through-hot, sour, salty, and sweet! Adapted from Friedas.
- 2 tablespoons miso (or bean paste)
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons dry sherry
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1⁄2 teaspoon crushed pepper
- 1 1⁄2 lbs Japanese eggplants
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon chili oil (or 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes)
- 2 garlic cloves, coarsely minced
- 4 slices peeled gingerroot, coarsely minced (1/4-inch slice)
- 1 whole scallion, finely chopped
- Mix the seasonings in a bowl until the sugar is dissolved and set aside.
- Rinse and dry the eggplant and cut off stems; don't peel. Quarter them lengthwise and cut each quarter into 2-inch wedges. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch with the water and sesame oil. Set aside.
- Heat a large, heavy skillet(or wok) over high heat for 30 seconds. Add the olive oil with the chili-pepper oil(or red pepper flakes), swirl, and heat for 30 seconds. Throw in the garlic, ginger, and scallions and stir rapidly for 15 seconds.
- Add the eggplant wedges and stir with a spatula in flipping and gentle pressing motions for 2-5 minutes to expose them to the oil.
- Turn heat down to medium high and continue to turn and press lightly for 4-7 more minutes, until the wedges are slightly browned and flattened. Don't press them hard, or they might break and become messy.
- Turn the heat back up to high. Give the seasonings a stir and pour over the eggplant. Stir in scooping and lifting motions for about 30 seconds; give the cornstarch mixture a stir and add to the sauce. Cook to desired doneness.
- Toss quickly, then place into a hot serving dish. Enjoy!
- Makes 3 to 4 servings.