Seriously Simple: This Asian dish is a favorite in our family

<p>This is Seriously Simple to put together.</p>

Diane Rossen Worthington/TNS

This is Seriously Simple to put together.

I like cooking with Japanese eggplants. They have a thick skin and sponge-like texture that allows for glazes and sauces to be easily absorbed. I also like the shape and ease of slicing them.

I have found that Japanese eggplants seem to be slightly sweeter than their larger cousin. They are delicious grilled, roasted or sauteed. Also, their flavor is fairly bland, so you can cook them with different flavorings, from tahini to tomatoes.

This Asian dish is a favorite in our family when we crave ginger, chili and garlic flavors. As long as you have all your ingredients prepped, this is Seriously Simple to put together.

This ginger, chili eggplant stir-fry is a universal complement to Asian-style main courses. Make sure to taste it at the end of cooking and adjust if you’d like your dish sweeter or spicier. If you like it even spicier, you can add more chili paste. I like to serve it with noodles with peanut sauce and a stir-fry of colorful Asian vegetables for vegetarians. It also pairs nicely with salmon or sea bass and is excellent served at room temperature or chilled.

Stir‑Fried Eggplant in Spicy Asian Sauce

Serves 4

  • 3 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 4 Japanese eggplants, unpeeled and cut into 1‑inch thick slices
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 4 scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chili paste with garlic
  • 2 tablespoons sherry
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 teaspoons dark sesame oil

1. In a wok over high heat add the peanut oil, swirling around to coat the sides. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the eggplant and toss every 15 to 20 seconds for 2 to 3 minutes or until lightly browned.

2. Add the garlic, ginger and scallions, and toss for another minute. Add the chili paste, sherry, soy sauce, sugar, cider vinegar and chicken stock, and cook, tossing every 15 to 20 seconds for 3 minutes.

3. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes or until the eggplant is tender. Remove the cover and add salt to taste. Drizzle with the sesame oil and serve immediately.

(Diane Rossen Worthington is an authority on new American cooking. She is the author of 18 cookbooks, including “Seriously Simple Parties,” and a James Beard Award-winning radio show host. You can contact her at www.seriouslysimple.com.)