Spicy Chinese Eggplant
2 garlic cloves
1 knob ginger, peeled
8 spring onions
vegetable oil for shallow frying
1 metric cup coarse textured soy protein (soaked in 1 cup boiled water)
2 tablespoons chili bean paste
4 tablespoons soy sauce
5 tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry (mirin would do if you're not into alcohol)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons raw, unrefined sugar
1/4 cup water
Slice eggplants into short, thin strips and scatter with salt, then leave in a colander for 30-40 minutes. Rinse and pat dry with kitchen paper.
Set textured soy protein to soak.
Crush or food process garlic, ginger and four spring onions to a paste. Slice the other spring onions into 5cm/2in lengths. Set aside.
Heat a wok with a cup of oil and when hot, fry the eggplant strips in a couple of batches until golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper and discard oil.
Heat the wok with a few tablespoons of fresh oil and add the garlic paste and textured soy protein. Stir-fry for 3 minutes on high, then add all the remaining ingredients, including the sliced spring onions. Cook for a few minutes, lid on, until they have softened and the flavors have melded together.
Stir in the eggplant, check the seasoning (if a little salty add more water) and serve with rice.
*** This is my adaptation of a dish that usually calls for minced pork. Crumbled firm regular tofu would also work well instead of the textured soy protein.