Spicy Eggplant on Sliced Baguette

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1 pound Japanese eggplant, diced into 1/4 inch pieces
1/2 whole yellow onion diced into 1/4 inch pieces
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root
1 clove minced garlic
3 teaspoons brown sugar
3 teaspoons soy sauce
3 teaspoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons canned Szechuan hot bean paste
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2/3 dash fresh ground black pepper
2 teaspoons cornstarch, mixed with water
3 stalks minced green onion
12 pieces bread, baguette rounds or cut into triangles

Heat a wok or large sauté pan and add about two tablespoons of vegetable oil to the bottom. Add diced eggplant and onion and sauté until aromatic and vegetables are wilted.

Add ginger root, garlic, hot bean sauce*, soy sauce, brown sugar,sesame oil, black pepper and rice vinegar. Add cornstarch solution and thicken any juices on the bottom of pan by stirring. Taste and adjust sweetness with sugar as desired. Remove pan from heat, add minced green onions and serve warm or cold with bread.

To serve, slice fresh bread into triangles or baguettes into rounds and mound eggplant and salsa on top. Serve as a delicious vegetarian appetizer everyone will enjoy.

If Szechuan hot bean paste is not available, simply omit and add 1/4 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes.

Notes: You do not need to peel the Japanese purple eggplant skin; it is tender upon cooking and pretty.

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