Beef with Eggplant and Onion
We frequently get long thin Asian eggplants as well as the fatter European variety here in our local stores. Unfortunately, the former always seem to be of poor quality after having made the long flight north. When I espied some nice ones this morning, I decided I would stir-fry them with beef…
- 1/2lb. good quality Beef Steak, sliced into ¼ inch thick strips;
- 1 ½ cups Eggplant, cut into batons;
- 1 cup Onion sliced top to bottom into thin sections;
- ¼ tsp. Baking Soda;
- 4 tsp. Cornstarch;
- 1 pinch each Sugar and Salt;
- 1 ½ tbsp. Vegetable Oil;
- ½ cup Chicken Stock;
- 3 tbsp. Oyster Sauce;
- ¼ cup Chinkiang Black Vinegar;
- 1 tbsp. minced garlic;
- 1 tbsp. minced Ginger.
Toss the beef pieces with the baking soda and one teaspoon of the cornstarch, followed by the sugar and salt. Then, stir in the oil to help the pieces separate later while frying and set all aside to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
Pre-mix the sauce by making a paste with 2 teaspoons of cornstarch and a little water, then stir in the stock, oyster sauce and vinegar.
Toss the eggplant pieces with the remaining teaspoon of cornstarch and heat up a cup or two of oil in your wok over moderately high heat. Deep-fry the eggplant for a minute or two until the white part starts to turn golden and remove to a bowl lined with paper towel.
Allow the oil to come back up to heat and then deep-fry the beef pieces until just cooked through. Remove to another bowl and then drain the wok of all but a tablespoon or two of the oil.
Add the ginger and garlic to the wok and, as soon as the aroma arises, add the onion. Sauté just until the onion softens a little and then add back the meat along with the sauce ingredients. When the sauce reduces and thickens, stir in the eggplant once again and, once all is heated through, serve immediately.
NOTES: I intended this dish to be quite sour and tangy and it definitely was (indeed, I am glad I didn’t use white vinegar as I first thought to do). My wife and I both enjoyed this but you may wish to reduce the vinegar quantity slightly or else balance it with just a dash of sugar…