Eggplant in Garlic Sauce

Click to enlarge

This is my version of a dish called Eggplant in Garlic Sauce that we used to order regularly at Szechuan East, a Chinese restaurant that was once (and may still be for all I know) at the Galleria on Westheimer in Houston, TX.  It was truly one of the very best Chinese dishes I’ve ever eaten in my life.  All at the same time it is sweet–sour–and spicy.   One night while enjoying dinner in this particular restaurant, we saw Debra Paget (well-known 50’s actress who played Indian princesses in more than one film) enjoying a meal across the room, all alone at her table.  My husband told me her last husband was Asian, and after reading his bio , he was as well-known in his own right.  Having seen many of her films, we were quite excited to see her in person.  She was still very beautiful.  Sorry, I digress.  🙂

Though this dish is admittedly somewhat off-putting visually and texture-wise (pieces are quite slippery when properly cooked and sauced), the flavor is so delightful it continues to be a favorite in Chinese restaurants and on my table at home.  Both my husband and I can get past its down side to appreciate the subtle flavor nuances of this tasty dish.  It is traditionally served cut into the strips as shown in the photo, but if you prefer, you could slice it in rings and cut them into halves for a dish that may not be so visually off-putting.   It is typically served atop rice, but it’s not bad eaten alone or incorporated into a simple shrimp-stir-fry with some meat slices as well.  The dish is outstanding with grilled Asian Marinated meats like this recipe.  If you like eggplant and are not bothered by its sometimes slippery texture, I think you’re really going to like this dish.  🙂

VARIATION:  Add RED bell pepper strips sauteed to the mixture.  Seared, thin pork strips is another nice variation on this theme.

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1   1-lb. eggplant, peeled and cut into ¼” strips

4 T. olive oil

½ tsp. HOT sesame oil

½ pkt. Splenda or Stevia   

1 T. rice wine vinegar (no substitions)

1½ T. low sodium soy sauce or coconut aminos

3 small cloves garlic, minced

½ c. chicken broth

1/2-1 tsp. oriental chili paste like Sambal Oelek (or use crushed red pepper flakes)

1/8 tsp. xanthan gum to thicken

1 tsp. sesame seeds (optional and not included in numbers below)

DIRECTIONS:   Peel eggplant and cut into ¼” strips.  Heat olive and hot sesame oil in non-stick skillet or wok.   Add eggplant strips and gently stir fry.  Keep gently tossing them around on the hot pan surface and they WILL eventually get limp and soft.  When they are all starting to look translucent, add all remaining ingredients and simmer 1-2 minutes.  Add a tiny bit of your favorite thickening agent and stir well until slightly thickened.  Serve at once.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:  Makes 3 servings, each containing:

214.7 calories, 19.8 g  fat, 9.37 g  carbs, 4.77 g fiber, 4.6 NET CARBS, 2.23 g. protein, 355 mg sodium

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