Sunday, October 26, 2008

Fresh, Local, Healthy and, most importantly, GOOOOD

Low-calorie Chinese Style Eggplant

So I’ve started a calorie counting process with a nutritionist. Seems years of loving food has led me to a point where I either have to lose weight or consider amputation. But I am unwilling to stop eating good food. And with my other newfound locavore/organic obsession, I’ve been trying old recipes with lower fat approaches.

As usual, I let the farmer’s market dictate the main ingredient. Today was the last day for eggplant at the Dupont Market. I have not had them in a while and they looked so good, I had to buy a whole bag full.

So I launched into a low fat version of Szechuan-Style Spicy Eggplant. The key here is to use as little oil (down from 5 Tbsp to only 2) as possible, and substitute chicken stock for the moisture required to stew the eggplant until they are nice and soft.

This dish came out really well, if I do say so myself. Tart, spicy with a hint of sweetness and a very thick, viscous sauce. Filling too, which is a good think on my limited calorie count.

2 cups sliced Asian eggplants, cut on the bias (1 ½” – 2”)
3 mild green chilis
5 cloves Garlic, minced
3 scallions diced
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp Szechuan chili oil
3 Tbsp sugar
¼ cup vinegar (white or brown rice)
½ cup chicken stock, plus more as needed
1 Tbsp corn starch

Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a wok and stir fry eggplant for 2 minutes
Add 2 tbsp chicken stock, stir for 2 minutes and then set eggplant aside

Add 1Tbsp chili oil to wok and add garlic, scallion, peppers and saute until just brown
Return eggplant to wok and add all other ingredients, bring to a boil and then turn down to simmer and cover for 7-10 minutes or until eggplant is just soft. Add more chicken stock as needed to keep moist and soften eggplant.

Serve over white rice (in my case, just ½ cup).