I have one permanent cooking battle scar from all my time spent in the kitchen. It came from cooking eggplant (aubergines). I was frying eggplant in a wok when a piece of nearly cooked eggplant covered in hot oil flipped onto the back of my hand. Despite the battle scar, I love eggplants way too much to stop cooking them. One of my absolute favourites is this vegan Chinese braised eggplant dish.
So, here’s a few good tips to keep handy when it comes to cooking eggplants. Trust me, I’ve learnt! Firstly, how to prepare eggplant for cooking? Wash and cut your eggplant to desired bite sizes. Place eggplant in a large bowl of salted water. Then, use a plate or cover to push the eggplants down and keep them submerged in the salted water. Soak the eggplants for approximately 15 minutes. Then, drain and pat dry before cooking.
Eggplants are one of those vegetables like mushrooms which tend to absorb lots of oil. This preparation method reduces its oil absorption allowing the eggplants to lightly char while still evenly cooked and soft on the inside. Perfectly cooked eggplant should retain its integrity and remain firmish. Keep in mind, cooking eggplant requires a decent amount of hot oil. However, too much and your eggplant will become mushy and greasy which is rather unpleasant. Eggplant is a fantastic vegetable if cooked right. It absorbs plenty of beautiful flavours from its marinates.
While the eggplant is soaking, prepare the perfect sauce. The sauce we’ve chosen for this braised eggplant recipe is a combination of garlic, light and dark soy sauce, vegetarian oyster sauce and sugar to create the perfect balance of sweet and savoury. An absolutely satisfying vegan dish served with a hot bed of rice. Just simply delicious.