Spicy Szechuan Chicken & Eggplant
Last week, as I was strolling through my all time favorite Asian market in Atlanta (the Buford Highway Farmer’s Market), these incredibly gorgeous Chinese eggplant caught my eye and inspired me to make a spicy Szechuan dish that I can’t wait to share with you! I added veggies and chicken, and the sauce is sweet and savory with a little heat (just the way I like it!). I used dried sambal oelek, which is one of the spice packets from RawSpiceBar.com that I received as a gift from my two kids. The jarred sambal oelek works great as well! Be careful not to use too much or your mouth will need a fire extinguisher!
- 1 ½ pounds Chinese purple eggplant
- 1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed
- Salt & pepper
- ½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
- ¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon dried sambal oelek (or 1 tablespoon jarred)
- ½ teaspoon brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 shallot, chopped
- ¼ cup red bell pepper (or green), chopped
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
- 1 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- Cut the ends of the eggplant and slice on a diagonal into one inch pieces. Place in a microwave-safe bowl and cover pieces with water. Microwave for 1½ minutes until just soft but not mushy, checking on it after 1 minute. Remove from oven, drain and pat dry on paper towels. Set aside.
- To make the sauce: In a small bowl whisk together the chicken broth, soy sauce, oyster sauce, rice vinegar, tomato paste, sesame oil, sambal oelek, and brown sugar. Stir in cornstarch until dissolved. Set sauce aside.
- Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Cook chicken pieces in a large wok over medium high heat with 1 tablespoon canola oil until browned on both sides but not cooked through. Remove chicken from wok and set aside.
- Add eggplant slices to wok in a single layer and cook until crisp and light golden brown, about 2 minutes on each side. Remove eggplant from pan and set aside.
- Heat remaining tablespoon canola oil in the pan over high heat and add garlic and shallots. Cook until fragrant and translucent. Add in bell peppers and cook about 2-3 minutes. Add in green onions, ginger, and shiitake mushrooms and cook another 3 minutes. Stir in the sauce and eggplant, and chicken and cook until sauce has thickened, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat. Garnish with extra green onions, and serve with a side of steamed rice.
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