This is savory and rich-tasting; the prunes fairly melt away here.
Serve with scallion fried rice.
For this recipe, you'll need a 5 1/2-to-7-quart slow-cooker.
Make Ahead: The cooled eggplant can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
Servings: 4 - 6 side-dish
- 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 2 large (36 ounces) purple eggplants, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
- 2-inch piece peeled ginger root, grated (1 tablespoon)
- 2 bunches scallions (12 to 14 total), white and light-green parts cut on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces
- 1 3/4 cups homemade or no-salt-added vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 3/4 cup chopped pitted prunes
- 1 tablespoon salted Chinese black beans, finely chopped (optional)
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- Leaves from 4 to 6 stems cilantro, coarsely chopped, for serving (optional)
- 1 small serrano pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped, for serving (optional)
Heat half of the vegetable and half of the sesame oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once they begin to shimmer, add half of the eggplant and stir-fry for about 8 minutes or until browned on all sides. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to the slow-cooker. Repeat with the remaining oils and eggplant.
Reduce the heat to medium; add the garlic, ginger and scallions to the skillet. Stir-fry for 3 minutes, then add to the slow-cooker along with the broth, soy sauce, prunes and the Chinese black beans, if using. Cover and cook on LOW for 3 to 4 hours. The eggplant will be quite tender.
Whisk together the water and cornstarch in a small bowl, then stir into the eggplant mixture. Increase the heat to HIGH; cover and cook for 30 minutes. The mixture should thicken.
Spoon the eggplant and its sauce into a serving bowl; garnish with the cilantro and serrano pepper, if desired. Serve warm.
Adapted from "Slow Cooking," by Antony Worrall Thompson (Mitchell Beasley, 2012).
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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