Spicy Szechuan Eggplant
This sweet and spicy dish comes together quickly. Put your rice on to steam thirty minutes before you start preparing your Szechuan Eggplant dish and you’ll have dinner ready in no time.
Here are links to relevant that may be helpful for this recipe
- 1 large eggplant (globe eggplant--may substitute 10 small round Indian eggplants, or 3 long Japanese eggplants) cut into irregular shapes, 1 to 1 1/2 lbs
- 1 tbsp garlic minced, about 3 cloves
- 1 large red onion julienned
- 1 large green bell pepper cut in 1/4 inch strips. 8-9oz
- 6 small mulit-colored peppers quartered (optional), about 1/2 cup
- 16 oz portobello mushrooms washed and sliced (may substitute button mushrooms or baby bellas)
- slivered almonds or cashews, toasted
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp molasses
- 2 tbsp brown sugar packed
- 1/4 cup tamari may substitute soy sauce
- 1 1/2 - 2 cups vegetable stock or water, enough to make two cups including the previous four ingredients
In a large sauté pan, sauté onions until wilted adding water or vegetable stock to prevent scorching. Stir in garlic, mushrooms and peppers. (If using crushed red peppers, reserve for later.)
Add about 1/2 cup liquid, cover and cook on medium heat until veggies are fork tender, stirring frequently. Once the mushrooms have released their liquid (signifying the veggies are nearly done) begin making your sauce.
For the sauce, pour 1/2 cup boiling water into a 2-cup measuring cup. With a whisk, stir in brown sugar until completely dissolved. Add molasses and stir until dissolved. Whisk in tamari and set aside to cool.
Check your vegetables and see if the eggplants are fork tender. This is the one vegetable that you really want to be cooked through. If that is ready, finish making your sauce.
When the eggplants are ready, stir in the almonds or cashews. If you are using crushed red peppers, add this now.
Finish your sauce by whisking 2 tablespoons organic cornstarch into the sweetened tamari mixture. Add enough liquid to bring the total amount to 2 cups. Stir to make sure the cornstarch is fully incorporated with no lumps.
Stir sauce into vegetable mixture. Cover and allow to come to a soft boil, stirring frequently. You will notice that the cornstarch mixture was rather cloudy when you first added it to the vegetables. In a minute or two, the mixture will become dark and clear. Allow this mixture to simmer for about 5 minutes for the flavors to incorporate, the sauce to thicken and become a clear, rich color.
Serve over brown or red rice. (Video on how to cook brown rice)
Note: I don't like adding cornstarch until I'm ready to use it. The sauce mixture doesn't have to be entirely cooled, just not hot. If the sauce is too hot, the cornstarch can thicken prematurely and may clump. If the sauce becomes too thick, add a half-cup cold water or veggie stock. Note: If you prefer your veggies to have more of a crunchy texture, sauté the mushrooms and eggplants first and after the mushrooms have released their liquid, stir in the peppers, onion, and garlic. Then add the nuts, crushed peppers, and sauce.
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