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Here’s a confession: I used to hate eggplant when it wasn’t in moussaka-form in Greece. I really, really hated it. I even tried grilling it healthily a few times, and I must have done something fundamentally wrong, because eww!

Then came China, with wonderful muslim eggplant dishes, and my curiosity was re-awakened. Enter my CSA, which presented me with the most gorgeous Chinese eggplant ever:

Now, Chinese eggplants are good for beginners because they are so much sweeter, more tender, and less bitter than the average thick, almost black Italian variety we tend to find in grocery stores around these parts.

And lo and behold, eggplant sweet and sour was prepared in my kitchen, and I tasted it, and I saw that it was good.

Ingredients:
– Chinese eggplant
– clove garlic
– 1 tsp minced ginger root
– 1 tbsp dark rice vinegar or balsamic vinegar
– 1 package sweetener
– 1 Sichuan pepper or half a small, hot pepper
– 1 tbsp soy sauce

Steps:
1.
Preheat broiler while chopping garlic, pepper and ginger root.
2. Slice eggplant into 1/4 inch thick slices. For Chinese eggplant, peeling isn’t necessary; for Italian eggplants, you’ll want to peel. Sprinkle slices with salt and let sit for 10 minutes to draw out moisture.
3. Wash off salt, pat dry and broil eggplant slices for 5 minutes until tender on a foil-lined sheet.
4. Over medium heat, brown chopped ingredients in a sprayed pan.
5. Add vinegar, soy sauce and sweetener and stir well.
6. Add eggplant slices, simmer for about 5 to 10 more minutes, and enjoy!

Ironically, by now I am addicted to eggplant, even the regular kind, to a degree where my wife pokes fun at me and my CSA members know to find me if they want to trade in their eggplants for something else.

Have you become a staunch believer when it comes to certain ingredients? What’s your take on eggplant? Yay or nay?