Black Bean Sauce Eggplants
This is a homely Chinese dish of eggplants cooked in a spicy black bean sauce (黑豆漿茄子). The otherwise bland-tasting eggplants (aka brinjal or aubergine) come to life by soaking up the savoury black bean sauce like a sponge. This dish is so savoury, so good with steamed rice.
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In this recipe, I’m using LKK spicy black bean sauce (pictured above). You can use any favourite brand, do try to get those without added preservatives or coloring. Although I do make black bean sauce from scratch, the bottled ones are delicious and a great time-saver.
Did you notice the beautiful purple hue of the eggplants in this dish? This was achieved by steaming the eggplants before they are stir-fried.
To retain the eggplant purple hue after cooking, we need to pre-cook the eggplants by steaming them. If they were added straight to the wok, they will turn an unflattering brown after cooking. To start off, choose eggplants of a darker purple shade as pictured above, because they turn a shade lighter after cooking. The sequence here is important: bring water in the steamer (I’m using a large Chinese wok here) to a rapid boil, add the plate of eggplants into the steamer (pictured above), cover steamer with lid and cook for 4 minutes (set your kitchen timer).
After 4 minutes, take the eggplants out and rinse under tap water to cool them down. This step is optional, it helps to lock the purple colour in.
The steamed eggplants can now be added to the bubbly black bean sauce with only slight browning after cooking.