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Saucy Braised Eggplant

1 1/2 pounds eggplant, rinsed, ends trimmed and cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch thick slices
1 teaspoon salt

Seasonings:

1 1/2 teaspoons hot chile paste (such as Lan Chi Chile Paste With Garlic or sambal oeklek, a Thai chile paste, available at Asian markets or in the specialty section at the supermarket)
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

Braising Liquid:

1 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons rice wine or sake
1 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar or Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon canola or corn oil
2 cups red onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 tablespoons minced scallion greens

Arrange the eggplant slices on a cookie sheet lined with paper towels and sprinkle both sides with salt. Let them sit 1 hour, then pat them dry and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes.

Prepare the seasonings and mix the braising liquid ingredients in a bowl. Set by the stove.

Heat a large flameproof casserole or Dutch oven. Add the oil and heat until hot. Add the chile paste and stir-fry for 5 seconds over high heat, then add the other seasonings and stir-fry until fragrant. Add the red onions and saute about 1 1/2 minutes, then add the eggplant cubes and stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the braising liquid, cover, and heat until boiling. Reduce the heat to medium, cover, and cook about 12 to 14 minutes, or until the eggplant is tender. Uncover, increase the heat to high, and cook until the sauce is reduced to a glaze. Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle with the scallion greens.

Makes 6 servings.

Adapted from "A Spoonful of Ginger" by Nina Simonds

Thursday, October 04, 2001

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