SPICY EGGPLANT WITH GINGER AND GARLIC

This cloisonne ginger jar was an estate sale find.  Once upon a time these jars were purportedly used to hold ginger, spices, salt, and oils.  I think today they’re mainly used for holding loved ones’ ashes, or made into lamps.  This one has found a home on a bathroom sink, where it serves no purpose whatsoever.

Because the jar is old, you have to handle it gingerly.  Just kidding.  I mean, what is “gingerly?”  It’s defined as cautiously or carefully.  Dictionary.com provides this sample sentence using the word:  “We approach the retirement process with them gingerly when discussing their defined benefits.”  I think a better sentence would be:  “She gingerly picked up the dog poop off the lawn, doing so only because the homeowners were watching.”  Or maybe a better example would be to not use it in a sentence at all.

Ginger is also used to describe redheads.  No one really seems to know the origins of that use of the word, although my interwebs research points to England.  There is a competing theory that it originated with Ginger Grant, the famous redhead on that fateful three-hour tour.

Tina Louise as Ginger Grant

I was surprised to discover that there is another, more important, debate involving Ginger.  Apparently, there’s a split between men as to who they would prefer to be stranded on an island with, Maryann or Ginger.  You can find an example of this intellectual discussion here.  Hilarious.

I love the smell of fresh ginger, and was wondering if anyone ever used it as a fragrance.  I found lots of ginger-based commercial fragrances, like Origins Ginger Essence Intensified Fragrance.  But I didn’t run across anything suggesting you could just rub some of the freshly-cut rhizome on your wrists and drive the opposite sex wild.  I’ll have to give it a try and report back.

But in the course of my research, I was reminded of a baking ingredient that enjoyed some popularity as a fragrance.  Remember Granny from the Beverly Hillbillies?  She used to dab vanilla extract behind her ears.

Irene Ryan as Granny

Before you dismiss the idea of using vanilla extract as perfume, guess who else claims to use it?  According to an article in US Magazine, Jennifer Love-Hewitt uses vanilla extract as a powerful aphrodisiac.  The actress is quoted as saying, “I carry McCormick’s Pure Vanilla [in my purse] — the baking kind — and dab it on my neck.  Men are attracted to the scent!  One time, I put it on and four different guys were like, ‘You smell amazing!'”  So if you, too, want guys to be like, “you smell amazing,” consider dabbing some vanilla extract on your neck.  Bacon grease would probably work too.  Or at least the dog would play with you.

Anyway, the colorful little ginger jar has provided the inspiration for this recipe for Spicy Eggplant with Ginger and Garlic.  It can be served hot over rice, but I think it’s possibly even better cold, as an eggplant salad of sorts.

CHINESE GINGERED EGGPLANT
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Recipe type: Vegetable
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
  • 4 Japanese eggplants, stalks removed, and cut into 1" cubes
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons peeled, minced fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon hot chile sauce or chili oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onions
  • Steamed rice (optional)
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add eggplant, reduce heat to medium-low, and saute eggplant until soft. Transfer eggplant to a bowl and set aside. Add ginger, garlic, and chile sauce or chili oil to pan and saute over high heat for a few seconds. Add soy sauce, sugar, salt, and stock and bring to a boil. Return eggplant to pan and cook a few minutes more until sauce is reduced and eggplant is coated. Add vinegar and sesame oil and toss well. Stir in green onions, reserving a few for garnish. Serve hot over steamed rice, or refrigerate and serve cold.

 

Don’t forget the chopsticks!

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