Eggplant with Garlicky Brown Sauce

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1-1/2 cups cooked white rice
1 tablespoon light sesame oil
1 medium eggplant
2 scallions cut in 1 inch pieces
8 large mushrooms, halved
6 cloves garlic, smashed, or more
1/2 inch -piece fresh ginger root, peel and chop
2 tablespoons dry white wine, or less
2 tablespoons soy sauce, low sodium
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 package mushroom gravy, vegetarian
1-1/4 cup water, or more as needed
1 tablespoon kung pao sauce, or other chili sauce

Steam the rice (See note).

While rice is cooking, sliced eggplant in 1/2-inch slices; then rough-cut into 1-1/2-inch squares. Cut the onions into 1-inch long pieces. Place eggplant and onion into colander; salt; allow to drain. Rinse and towel dry.

HOT WOK! Heat oil in wok. Add the eggplant and onion and brown. Using a scoop or large spoon, rotate the browned eggplant to the top. Let brown. Repeat until well browned and beginning to caramelize. Make a well in center of wok and add the garlic and the ginger. Add wine to center and when the wine has evaporated (less than 30 seconds) add the mushroom pieces and red pepper flakes; stir to toss. Pour half the soy over the eggplant and cover. Let stew about 4 to 5 minutes It will burn a little. Lift cover and toss. Add the rest of the soy and cover. Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes. Mix the mushroom gravy with water and the chili sauce (Kung Pao). Make a well in the wok and add the gravy, stirring and adding water to thicken to a medium consistency. Correct seasoning with black pepper and soy sauce.

Notes: Eggplants are remarkable things the way they absorb flavors! We wanted more garlic. It could have stewed a little longer to caramelize. Next time salt the eggplant first, then start the rice. Pantry: We used the mushroom gravy that does not have beef bouillon flavoring.

Rice: half white and half jasmine.

Fume blanc. 1 tablespoon of Tamari, first, then 1 tablespoon of soy, low sodium.

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