Garlic Eggplant 蒜香茄子

Eggplant is not one of my favorite food/ingredients to cook with, perhaps a misconception that it relentlessly absorbs oil during cooking.

However, that is because I seldom cook with high-heat and super-hot oil in the kitchen, which is how most eggplant dishes are churned out in Chinese restaurants - pre-fried in hot oil (过热油) for few quick seconds before they are stir-fried to perfect tenderness in a matter of minutes. This way of quick cooking retains the dark purple gloss on the eggplant skin and ensures the eggplant is perfectly cooked on the inside.

Eggplants and other purple plant-foods, such as blueberries and grapes, contain anthocyanins - a powerful antioxidant. Specifically, a type of anthocyanin - Nasunin, found in the skin of eggplants, is known to maintain good cardiovascular health.

At home, I usually lean towards fuss-free, less-grease cooking for eggplants either steam or bake e.g. Steamed Eggplants with Miso Dressing, Grilled Eggplants served with Peanut Butter and Japanese 7-Spice Powder. Typically, Chinese long eggplants are used for these eggplant recipes. However, occasionally I will use baby eggplants and larger-sized Italian eggplants for these same recipes.

Do you go for a particular eggplant variety when you cook? Do share with us, which eggplant variety for what dish.

For this Garlic Eggplant, I am using these fresh baby eggplants that I spotted in Sprouts Farmers Market when they were on sale - 10 for $1 !

Garlic Baby Eggplant 蒜香茄子
4-5 cloves garlic finely minced
10 baby eggplant or 2 small Chinese long eggplant, cut to bite-size wedges. Peel for better flavor (as the skin may give slight bitterness when cooked) and soft texture but for the sake of nutrition (and less wastage), you can opt not to peel
2tsp light soy sauce
1tsp sugar

Directions: Heat up 1tbsp of oil in a pan, add half the garlic and fry till fragrant. Add the eggplants and mix well with garlic. Add the remaining half of garlic. When the eggplant start to soften, lower the heat, and cover the pan so that the eggplants are gently steamed to cook. Occasionally, check on the eggplants and give it a good toss to make sure the flavors marry and there is uniform cooking.

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