One of our favorite dishes at a Pittsburgh Chinese restaurant is their Chicken and Eggplant. Here in Baltimore, we haven’t yet found a restaurant that serves quite the same dish. But we do have a fabulous Asian grocery store not too far away, so I went about recreating it at home.
When using eggplant in a stir fry, be sure to use a small variety of eggplant.
The skin on the larger eggplants is often too thick to chew in a quick stir fry. The texture of the eggplant in this dish will also be a lot better if you can cut the eggplant so that each slice has skin on one side. If all you can find are the large eggplants, you can use it, but you should peel it first.
Eggplant absorbs a lot of oil when it is cooked, so to keep this dish from being too oily, sear the eggplant with just a small amount of oil in a very hot pan until it just begins to char. Then remove it from the pan while you cook the remaining ingredients.
The sauce is a little spicier than a normal teriyaki sauce, but you can tone down the spice if you don’t like it quite soo hot. One special ingredient that I also bought from the Asian market is this Spicy Bean Sauce, which has a garlic chili base:
Chinese Chicken & Eggplant in Garlic Chili Sauce
2 Tbs spicy bean sauce
2 Tbs soy sauce
2 Tbs rice wine or cooking sherry
2 Tbs garlic chili sauce or 2 tsp chili paste
1 Tbs sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp fish sauce
1/4 tsp ground Szechuan peppercorns
4 thinly sliced chicken breasts
1 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp cornstarch
Pinch of salt
2 Tbs oil, divided
3-4 small Asian eggplants (or other small variety eggplant), cut into wedges
4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
(use 6 cloves of garlic if using chili paste instead of garlic chili sauce)
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
6 green onions, cut into 2-inch pieces
Hot cooked rice
Combine sauce ingredients and set aside. In a Ziploc bag or small bowl, combine chicken, 1 Tbs oil, cornstarch and salt. Set aside.
In a large wok or skillet, heat 1 Tbs oil until very hot. Add eggplant to hot skillet and stir over high heat until eggplant begins to char, about 5 minutes. Do not crowd the pan; cook in two batches, if necessary. Remove eggplant from pan and set aside. Add additional 1 Tbs oil to pan. Add chicken to pan and cook, stirring, until chicken is cooked through. Reduce heat to medium and add garlic and ginger. Cook for 2 minutes, and then add green onions and cooked eggplant slices. Stir in sauce and heat through. Serve over rice.