In high school I was a bit of a nerd. I say this because I loved to read and whenever my honors English teacher assigned a book I was excited to get started on it. While most of the students in the school were complaining about assigned reading,thankfully there were many other nerdy readers in my honors English class with me.
I'll say this about my high school honors English classes. We read a lot of good books. I still talk about The Scarlett Letter, 1984, A Wrinkle in Time, and The Joy Luck Club. It wasn't all fun and games though. There is one book that will haunt my dreams forever. Moby Dick. I'll be honest; while I really did hate this book, it may have also been the fact that my creepy English teacher spent a week and a half on the "Whiteness of the Whale" or the fact that one of my best friends almost drowned while reading the book because she fell asleep in her tub.
But for the most part I loved reading the assigned books and often saw the movies later on in life. So when I saw that the theme for #SundaySupper this week was movie inspired recipes I immediately thought of The Joy Luck Club. If you've never seen the movie or read the book, it's a lovely story about 4 Chinese mothers and their 4 daughters. They talk about their hardships, their sorrows, and the happy times. The story is told through the different points of view of all 8 of them and the story changes depending on who is telling it. There is a sense of friendship, community, and love, all over tea, food, and a shared game of mahjong.
Thinking back on both the movie and the book, the recipe I wanted to make was eggplant in garlic sauce. It always sounded so delicious and it's something I've never had before. It was very easy to make and I really enjoyed the flavors. I'll warn you that this is a spicy dish but it's also very good. The only thing differently I'd do next time is to peel the skin from the eggplants before cooking them.
So the next time you're inviting friends over for mahjong, put on a pot of hot tea and make this flavorful eggplant in garlic sauce. You'll be glad you did.
Eggplant in Garlic Sauce (adapted from Saveur)
3 medium Chinese eggplant, about 1 lb.
1 ½ T. chili garlic sauce
3 T. soy sauce
2 T. rice vinegar
1 T. lime juice
1 T. sugar
4 T. vegetable oil
4 oz. ground pork
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 T. minced ginger
½ c. chopped scallions
2. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add half the eggplant and stir fry for 3 minutes. Remove the eggplant to a plate. Add an additional tablespoon of eggplant and stir fry the remaining eggplant. Remove to the plate with the other eggplant.
3. In a small bowl combine the chili garlic sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar, lime juice, and sugar. Mix with ¾ cup of water. Set aside.
4. Add 1 tablespoon of oil, along with the pork, garlic, and ginger, to the skillet. Heat for 2 minutes. Add the eggplant back in and stir in the chili garlic sauce.
5. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce heat to medium. Continue cooking for 5-8 minutes or until the eggplant is tender.
6. Sprinkle with the chopped scallions and immediately serve over rice.