I've had WAY too many weekend seminars in the past month (For what, you ask? I am a Topless Crocodile Wrestler, In Training), and when I'm doing a seminar, I inevitably end up in the deli section of the Mustard Seed for lunch. Which is where I stumbled across their Thai Eggplant (I think that's what it's called) which is seriously like the BEST STUFF EVER INVENTED. Sweet JEEBUS. And after gorging on it a couple weekends in a row, I decided to try making some myself.
Unfortunately, it didn't come out anything like their version (*sigh*), but it *was* still tasty. The problem is that their eggplant is *clearly* deep-fried, but I think I was trying to convince myself that it *wasn't* in fact a big greasy unhealthy mass of eggplant and that I could duplicate it in the oven. No dice.
I also went a bit overboard with the sauce, and even my sauce-whore self was like, "Lady-pants, you need to CALM DOWN on the sauce front because this shit is absolutely SWIMMING in it." I think I was just overwhelmed by how much diced eggplant one eggplant yielded, so I thought I needed a double-batch of the General Tao's sauce to handle it. But trust me, you can get away with just one.
And now that I've yammered on about all this, I've just realized that I don't really have a concrete recipe to share with you.
So I guess this is moreso just me showing you a pretty picture of eggplant (doesn't it look kinda like a wet-lipped model?), and telling you that if you wanna play with something along the lines of this dish, here's what you can do:
* Whip up a serving of General Tao's sauce:
- 1-3 T. oil
- 3 chopped green onions
- 1 T. minced ginger
- 1 T. minced garlic
- 2/3 c. vegetable stock
- 2 T. soy sauce
- 4 T. sugar
- red pepper to taste
- 1 T. white vinegar
Heat vegetable (or sesame) oil in pan on medium heat. Add green onions, ginger and garlic, cook for about 2 minutes. Be careful not to burn garlic. Add vegetable stock, soy sauce, sugar, red pepper and vinegar. Mix 2 Tablespoons water with 1 Tablespoon cornstarch and pour into mixture stirring well.
* Dice up an eggplant and cook it in your most favoritest of ways (I broiled it, but I wasn't too bowled over by the results--frying would probably be best).
* Add eggplant to General Tao's sauce and also 1/2 to 1 c. of cashews.
* Serve over rice.