In sweet-and-sour eggplant, Asian spices fuse with an ingredient that’s often topped with tomato sauce in Italy in an east-meets-west food trend. While the best eggplant to use is the Chinese variety, the dish also works well with Japanese eggplants or the larger eggplants (aubergines) found in Europe and the US. You can pretty much use any eggplant, as it’s the sauce that marries spicy with sweet and makes the dish so magical.
About sweet-and-sour eggplant
Sweet-and-sour eggplant originated in the Sichuan province of China. Strangely enough, although the dish is sometimes called ‘fish-fragrant eggplant’, there’s actually no fish involved in its making.
If you can’t find the ingredients listed in the recipe you’ve chosen, it’s easy to swap them with ingredients more easily found in Singapore supermarkets. Chinese black vinegar can be swapped for balsamic vinegar, and Chinese bean paste can replace some or all of the soy sauce.
How to whip up sweet-and-sour eggplant
Cut the eggplant into strips and fry them on both sides for a couple of minutes until they’re golden brown and a bit wrinkled. Add oil, garlic, red chilli peppers, green onion and ginger to the pan and stir until the flavours are unlocked. Add some soy sauce, vinegar and sugar. Stir and serve immediately. The dish is so quick to make, it could even be called fast food!
Also, the above is just one variation of the dish. Use your imagination and add other ingredients, such as ginger, sesame seeds or tomato sauce.
As well as being delicious, sweet-and-sour eggplant is healthy. It gives you plenty of vitamin C, which is ideal for warding off coughs and colds and boosting the immune system. The dish is also high in iron, keeping your energy levels topped up.
What goes well with sweet-and-sour eggplant?
Eggplant is one of those ingredients that absorbs the flavour and moisture from the other cooking ingredients. Therefore, any accompanying dishes should be simple and mildly flavoured. Steamed rice or freshly baked crusty bread both make ideal side plates.
If you can’t make up your mind on whether to go Asian or Italian, or don’t have time to make your own meal, foodpanda can help. Try the fusion dishes at The Meeting Room or go totally Asian at Shi Kou Mala Hotpot.