It was serendipitous that the same week, my blogging friends Hegui & Stevie from Weird Combinations and Saveur Magazine both featured recipes for Sichuanese fried eggplant.
If you've ever ordered this form the a la carte menu at a restaurant or even helped yourself to a plateful off the dim sum cart, you know that this is one Chinese vegetarian offering that is doggone delicious!
It can however present some challenges in cooking and that is - oil.
We all know just how much of a sponge eggplant can be when it comes to oil and cupfuls can disappear in its pores only to be released later. And so you can end up with fried eggplant in a veritable 'oil soup'.
Don't get me wrong, I love a nice bit of chili oil to go with my rice but we all know, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Or a bad thing, depending on how you look at it.
I was impressed by the techniques employed by the Saveur recipe in trying to ward off such a happening and have inculcated most of the steps except for the method of cutting the vegetable.
The center line method in both recipes is the same. I did however take liberties in adjusting ingredient quantities to suit my taste. Fantastic over steamed rice, this makes such a nice addition to the Asian food repertoire in our kitchens.