Eggplant with Black Bean Sauce

This one’s been in my head for aaaages and I finally made it the other day! So yummy. Find the black beans at your local Asian grocery store – they’ll be called “fermented black beans” or “dried black beans” in a packet, marinated with soy sauce or something similar. Make sure you use Chinese black beans – they are fermented soybeans, not the same as black beans you use in burgers or tacos (: THE STATS

Approximate cost to buy everything: $15

Will make: about 2 cups sauce

Time taken: Approximately 1.5 hours from setup to finish, including 30 minutes soaking time

The protein, iron and calcium I’m not getting from meat? All three homeslice. Add tofu and some green leafy veg with the eggplant for an extra boost.

Ingredients:

Sauce

4 tbsp fermented black beans
2 tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp minced ginger
3 tbsp finely diced spring onion
1 cup vegetable stock
2 tbsp rice wine
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp rice vinegar
2 tsp cornflour
Sugar, to taste

Eggplant

1 large eggplant, chopped into bite-sized pieces
Fresh coriander, sesame seeds, and cooked rice to serve

 

Method:

To make the sauce –

Soak your black beans in a bowl filled with water for 30 mins to an hour, then rinse them well and mash them using a fork (I like to leave about 1/3 of them whole, though, because getting a yummy salty black bean in your dish is half the appeal)

In a small saucepan, drizzle a little olive oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add garlic and ginger and fry until aromatic and lightly golden. Add spring onion and fry for an extra 30 seconds, then add the black beans.

Add all of the liquid ingredients and bring to a boil. Then, reduce the heat to medium and allow to simmer for 10 mins or until mixture has reduced by about half.

In the meantime, prepare some glass jars for storage – clean them very well with boiling water and detergent, and leave them in the boiling water until ready to dry and immediately fill.

Add your cornflour to a tablespoon of water and mix well. Once thickened, dry your sterilised jars extremely well and fill completely with hot black bean sauce. Screw the lid on tightly and turn upside down until cooled in order to form a vacuum seal. This is so salty it will keep in the pantry about as long as an unopened relish… at least a year. Once opened, refrigerate and use within two weeks.

For the eggplant –

In a large frying pan, saute eggplant in a splash of olive oil over high heat until very soft – about 10-15 minutes. Stir through a few tablespoons of black bean sauce and serve with rice, coriander and sesame.

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