I was inspired by Szechuan Spicy Eggplant for this — a dish I used to be very suspicious of, when I first lived in Beijing, because the Mandarin name is “鱼香茄子“ — fish-smelling eggplant. However there is no fish-smell in it and it’s delicious, particularly when it’s cooked so the eggplant is melting and fragrant. Another linguistic anecdote is that for a very long time I thought I would never be able to say “eggplant” when I grew up calling them aubergines in both English and French. Yet here I am, saying eggplant. Eggplant eggplant eggplant.
Anyway here is my (vegan, not very Asian) version that I made up to satiate that craving, and which was surprisingly so good I had to write it up straight away. Sorry for the not terribly glam photo, but it’s night and I only have an iphone, and you know, brown food.
1 medium European eggplant chopped into 1cm cubes (it will seem like a lot when it’s raw but it cooks down quite a bit)
2 red chillies, finely chopped
300g beef-style Quorn mince
2/3 cup chicken-style broth (I use Massel’s 7s stock cubes which are not only vegan but also onion- and garlic-free)
4 Tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp sweet soy sauce
1 tsp worcester sauce
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp brown sugar
Heat some sunflower oil in a wok and when it’s hot, throw in eggplant and chillies, then lace with garlic oil and toss till everything is nicely coated. Fry for about 5 minutes or until golden.
Push eggplant away from centre of the wok and add in Quorn, fry for a minute or so, then add in sauce and stir. Simmer until the eggplant is melting — about 5 minutes.