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Aug 7, 2008 02:11 PM

Chinese Eggplant- Love me Tender

One of my favoritive dishes at typical / local Chinese take places is anything with eggplant. Always in those dishes the small Chinese Eggplants are always so moist and more improtantly soft (including the skin).

I've tried to recreate this at home but it never works, I can never get them soft enough and get the skin right. I've tried letting it sit with salt to draw out the moisture, baking, steaming, sauteing.

I love food but I am the first to admit I'm not a a great cook. Tips, tricks, recipes for me?

I'm in need of some tender eggplant!

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  1. Try the microwave oven. I generally use a vegetable peeler, and peel, alternating strips of skin and flesh. The peel can be somewhat tough, but I like a bit of texture in my dishes. Then, I slice or dice the eggplant, depending on the recipe. Microwave for several minutes till soft, then saute or stir fry, as the recipe directs. I never have used the salt and drain method.

    1. They probably deep fry the eggplant shortly before proceeding. This makes it greasy though.

      1. Not the healthiest technique, but have you tried frying? All the Asian recipes I've made with Chinese eggplant calls for the eggplant first being cooked/blanched in oil, then the sauce made, and the eggplants added back and simmered. They've always been soft and tender and full of flavor from soaking up the sauce. Now I'm hungry.

        Some of my favorite recipes are eggplant with Thai basil, eggplant in black bean sauce, and a new favorite is this Sichuan eggplant:

        1. As long as you quickly fry the eggplant in very hot oil, then let it drain it should not be greasy. Alternatively you could partially steam the cut-up eggplant first. Then add it to your meat/sauce mixture.

          1 Reply
          1. re: scoopG

            My favorite way to prepare Chinese eggplant is to marinate in tamari sauce, sesame oil and sherry, then grill it. It softens the flesh as well as the skin and imparts a great smoky flavor. I eat it as a side dish, on sandwiches and in Asian recipes.

          2. agree with rubee and scoop: fry the cut-up eggplant in hot oil to keep it moist -- but note that this is NOT supposed to be a deep fry. pan frying in a few tablespoons of oil is plenty. you can reduce this amount by a bit in a wok as long as wok is very hot.