Sweet and Sour Eggplant with Garlic Chips
Sue Li, New York Times/ Photo Credit, Andrew Purcell/ Food Stylist, Barrett Washburne
- 4 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced
- ¼ cup olive oil or other neutral oil
- Kosher salt
- 3 medium Japanese eggplants (about 1 pound total), quartered lengthwise then cut into 2-inch pieces
- 3 tablespoons tamari sauce
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- ½ to 1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
- ½ cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
- Set a small sieve over a heatproof bowl. Combine garlic and oil in a medium skillet. The key here is to combine the garlic and oil in an unheated pan for even cooking. Heat over medium-low. Cook garlic until light golden brown and crisp and the bubbles have subsided, 3 to 4 minutes, then quickly strain the garlic chips into the sieve set over the bowl. As the oil heats up, the garlic will sizzle rapidly as the moisture cooks off. When it slows down, the garlic slices should be crisp. Be sure to remove the chips just as they begin to turn golden, as they will continue to cook after being removed from the oil. Transfer the garlic chips to a paper towel-lined plate, season with kosher salt and set aside. Transfer the garlic oil back to the skillet.
- Heat the garlic oil over medium-high. Add the eggplant in batches, adding more as they shrink in size and space permits, and cook, stirring occasionally, until cut sides of eggplant are golden-brown and skins are slightly wrinkled, 6 to 8 minutes.
- Add the tamari sauce, sugar, vinegar and red-pepper flakes and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer, tossing the eggplant to coat, until sauce thickens, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve topped with fresh herbs and garlic chips.