This spicy side dish is a popular feature at Chinese restaurants, particularly those featuring Szechuan regional cuisine. In Braised Eggplant in Garlic Sauce, eggplant and bits of ground pork are combined with seasonings and simmered in a flavorful sauce. It's made with Chinese eggplant, a purple eggplant with a white streak that is thinner and longer than the egg-shaped eggplant commonly available in local supermarkets. Its heat comes from chili garlic sauce. (Both Chinese eggplant and chili garlic sauce are available at Asian/Chinese markets).
If you've ever fried eggplant, you'll know it loves to soak up oil! To provide an alternative for those wanting a lighter dish, I've included instructions for blanching the eggplant, as well as for stir-frying it in the traditional way.
Braised Eggplant in Garlic Sauce photo © copyright 2007 by Rhonda Parkinson, licensed to About.com, Inc.