Traditionally a Chinese Malay dish, this spicy eggplant recipe balances sweet, salty and spicy perfectly. Szechuan pepper is commonly used as the spice element however to keep it simple I have used chilli paste which is easier to find and has more uses in the camp kitchen.

Ingredients:

1 cup rice
1 large eggplant, cut into 2cm dice
2 tablespoons sugar
200g green beans, ends trimmed and cut in half
Handful unsalted cashews
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon chilli paste
1 teaspoon vinegar
2 shallots, thinly sliced (optional)

Method:

  1. Cook rice, set aside covered to keep warm.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a pan over high heat. Add eggplant and cook, stirring every minute until browned on all sides. With the heat on high, add the sugar and quickly stir to coat eggplant and caramelise. Transfer to a lightly oiled plate.
  3. Return pan to heat, add beans and cashews and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Return eggplant to the pan with soy, chilli paste and vinegar, stir to coat and remove from heat.
  5. Divide rice between plates, top with eggplant and garnish with sliced shallots.

Serves 2

TIPS:

  • Eggplant needs to be cooked through before adding the sugar. Be careful not to burn the caramel, it only takes a few seconds to burn.
  • Using a lightly oiled plate will stop the eggplant from sticking to the plate.

SUBSTITUTIONS:

  • Japanese eggplant works well in this dish
  • Fresh or dried chilli flakes can be used in place of chilli paste
  • Any greens can be substituted for beans
  • Peanuts can be used in place of cashews

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