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Szechuan Aubergines

ingredients

serves 4
2 small aubergines
5 ml (1 tsp) salt
3 dried red chillies
groundnut oil, for deep frying
3 - 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cm (1/2 in) fresh root ginger, finely chopped
4 spring onions, chopped and white and green parts separated
15 ml (1 tbsp) Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
15 ml (1 tbsp) light soy sauce
5 ml (1 tsp) sugar
1.5 ml (1/4 tsp) ground roasted Szechuan peppercorns
15 ml (1 tbsp) Chinese rice vinegar
5 ml (1 tsp) sesame oil

method

1. Trim the aubergines and Cut into strips, about 4 cm (l/4 in) wide and 7.5 cm (3 in) long. Place the aubergines in a colander and sprinkle with the salt. Leave for 30 minutes, then rinse them thoroughly under cold running water. Pat dry with kitchen paper.

2. Meanwhile soak the chillies in warm water for 15 minutes. Drain, then cut each chilli into three or four pieces, discarding the seeds.

3. Half-fill a wok with oil and heat to 180°C (350°F). Deep fry the aubergine until golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper. Pour off most of the oil from the wok. Reheat the oil and add the garlic, ginger and white part of the spring onions.

4. Stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the aubergine and toss, then add the wine or sherry, soy sauce, sugar, ground Szechuan peppercorns and rice vinegar. Stir-fry for 1 - 2 minutes. Sprinkle over the sesame oil and green spring onion.

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