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How do you braise eggplants, so they can maintain their beautiful purple color and not oily at all? Stay tuned for a simple cooking trick that will make all the difference. Let’s get started with Red Braised Eggplants!


Serving: 2 to 4
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes

For the eggplants:
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
4 large Chinese eggplants, quartered lengthwise, 2 inches long
1 tablespoon cornstarch
4 cups oil, for frying

For the stir fry:
1 tablespoon oil
1 medium finger hot pepper, thinly sliced
6 cloves garlic, coarsely minced
1 tablespoon scallions, minced

For the sauce:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons water

To prepare:

  • In a large bowl of water, add the salt and rice vinegar. Whisk.
  • Trim off the ends of each eggplant, quarter lengthwise, and cut into 2-inch long. Do the same with the rest.
  • Transfer the eggplants into the water mixture. Place a heavy plate on top so all the eggplants are submerged. Soak them for about 10 minutes.
  • Rinse them with running water. Drain and squeeze out the additional liquid from the eggplants. Sprinkle them with the cornstarch and combine.
  • In a bowl, to make the sauce, mix together the soy sauce, dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, and water. Whisk.

To deep-fry:

  • In a pot over high heat, pour the oil inside. Heat it up to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C). Fry the eggplants in batches for about 1 minute. (Instead of frying, you could also steam the eggplants.)
  • Remove and drain. Do the same with the rest.

To stir-fry:

  • In a wok over high heat, add the oil, finger hot pepper, and garlic, and stir fry until aromatic for 30 seconds. Pour in the sauce and cornstarch slurry (1 tablespoon of cornstarch and 3 tablespoons of water). Whisk until it is thickened.
  • Return the eggplants and combine.

To serve:

  • Preheat a clay pot. Transfer the eggplants inside and serve. Lastly, garnish it with scallions. (You could also serve it on a regular plate if you don’t have a clay pot.)

Notes on the eggplants:

  • Salt and vinegar will help to preserve the purple color of eggplants.
  • There are two benefits of soaking the eggplants. First, it helps to preserve the purple color of the eggplants. Second, the eggplants lose their ability to absorb oil, and they won’t be oily.

Notes on the frying oil:

  • After frying, the oil can be reused if it is not cloudy and dark. First, let the oil cool to room temperature. Then, pour it into a glass jar through a coffee filter or a piece of cheesecloth. Store it in a cool and dry place.
  • Throw the oil away properly if it is not reusable. First, let the oil cool to room temperature. Then, pour it into a non-breakable container with a lid. Tightly seal the container and toss it into the trash. Never pour the used oil down the drain, as it can clog your sink.

Did you know?

I’ve always believed that when you cook with love and kindness, your food will be the most delicious, and it will touch people’s hearts. Even though I didn’t list these magic ingredients in the recipe, they are surely the most important. So let us all try to include these magic ingredients in our cooking. Enjoy!




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