Eggplant with Pine Nuts Imperial Herbal Restaurant

4 servings
  • 2/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 pound eggplant, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 5 cups plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1 teaspoon light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 2/3 cup chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh gingerroot
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped scallion
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Asian chili sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Asian (toasted) sesame oil
  • In a paper bag or resealable plastic bag combine 2/3 cup of the cornstarch and the flour and shake the mixture well. In a colander rinse the eggplant, drain it, and in batches shake it in the cornstarch mixture, transferring each batch as it is coated to a large bowl.

  • In a wok heat 1 cup of the vegetable oil over high heat until it is hot but not smoking, in it fry the pine nuts until they are golden, and transfer them with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. To the vegetable oil in the wok, add 4 cups of the remaining vegetable oil, heat the oil over high heat until it registers 375 degrees F on a deep-fat thermometer, and in it fry the eggplant in 3 batches, stirring and turning the eggplant occasionally, for 6 minutes, or until it is golden brown. Transfer the eggplant as it is fried with a slotted spoon to a large sieve or colander set over a bowl, let it drain for 5 minutes, and transfer it to a serving bowl.

  • In a small bowl stir together the soy sauces, sugar, remaining 2 teaspoons cornstarch, and broth, stirring until cornstarch is dissolved. Discard the oil in the wok and wipe the wok clean with paper towels. In the wok heat the remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil over high heat until it is hot but not smoking and in it stir-fry the gingerroot, scallion, garlic, and the chili sauce for 30 seconds, or until the mixture is fragrant. Stir the soy sauce mixture, add it to the scallion mixture, and bring the sauce to a boil, stirring. Stir in the sesame oil and the pine nuts and pour the sauce over the eggplant.

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