So this will be my first post that actually has somewhat of a recipe and a step by step guide on how to create just a simple vegetable stir fry with a Soy and Hoisin Sauce. Before I get into it, let me point out that I hardly ever get to cook eggplant because my husband claims “it tastes like air.” What…? How does it tastes like air??? “It doesn’t taste like anything.” Again… what?? I’ll show you what tastes like air… It really baffles and amuses me every time I bring it up, so as you can imagine, I don’t cook eggplant often, except on the rare occasion he’s not home. With that said, let us go through how to make this “air”, into a delightful experience. :]
Cornstarch. Make sure you have that in your pantry at all times if you’re planning on cooking stir-fry, many Chinese dishes will always call for Cornstarch. With that said, the first thing you want to do is dice up your eggplant, there are different varieties of eggplant but you can use whichever you like best. The ones I like to use specifically are “Chinese” eggplants, they’re long and skinny instead of the pudgy looking ones they usually have at the local grocer. Avoid picking eggplants with brown spots and look for a smooth shiny outer skin.
Eating in Color by Frances Largeman-Roth informs us that the bigger eggplants are usually older; with it being old, the skin is tougher and you may want to both peel the skin and salt it before using. The older the eggplant, the more bitter it becomes. ;]
Once you dice the eggplant, you’re going to add oil into the pan over medium high heat and saute the eggplant and vegetables of your choice for about 4-5 minutes. I added whole mushrooms here and sauteed until the eggplants became soft. While you are stir-frying, keep in mind you might have to add more oil because those little eggplant pieces will suck up the amount you originally put.
While the eggplant is cooking away, you’re going to mix together 2 tablespoons of sugar, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, with 1/8-1/4 cup of Soy Sauce in a small container and have your Hoisin bottle ready.
When the eggplant has softened the way you like it, add both the Soy Sauce mix and 2 tablespoons of Hoisin sauce into the pan. The reason why I’m giving you a ballpark range with the sauces is because it’s all about how you want it to taste. More Soy Sauce will produce a saltier taste while the Hoisin sauce will balance that with a slight sweetness.
You’re going to stir-fry your ingredients together for another 2 minutes, moving it around so that the sauce is well incorporated. Once you feel that everything looks and tastes the way you like, remove it from the pan and plate it! For myself, I like to add a bit of Garlic Chili to make it spicy.
Take a bite of that and you tell me if it tastes like air!!