Eggplant with Garlic Sauce

I have a secret to tell you.

This recipe is called “Yu Xiang” eggplant in Chinese.  Yu means fish.  Xiang means fragrance.  Fish fragrance?  Sounds like smelly fish…  not tasty sounding at all.  But the name is actually referring to “the sauce that makes fish taste fragrant” and not smelly fish!  This sauce will make anything taste fragrant, and it is especially outrageous on eggplant.  You can make a meat version. or a vegetarian one.  Peter likes the meat version a lot.  I think I tasted this for the first time when we picked out dishes at a Chinese restaurant in Central Square in Cambridge for our wedding banquet.  We had a real Chinese banquet – no holds barred, which Ching Mai and Zhao Zhen helped us pick out.

If you want meat, add and combine in a bowl
½ pound ground pork
1 tablespoon soy sauce

Make sauce:
2/3 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons dark soy
3 tablespoons black vinegar
some chili garlic sauce, however much you can take
1 tablespoon sugar

If you like it, (I don’t usually add this) you can add
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
½ cup basil leaves

Cook until lightly browned, about 4-5 minutes, then set aside:
1 pound Asian eggplants (or you can use US ones but take the seeds out)
Some shitake mushrooms

Add to pan
1 tablespoon oil
6 cloves garlic, sliced (and basil if you want it)

Add pork and stir-fry for about 2 minutes

Dump in eggplants and add sauce.  Simmer until the eggplants are tender, 10-12 minutes.  Add cornstarch solution of
¾ teaspoon dissolved in a tiny bit of water
And stir until the sauce boils and thickens.

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