I am always surprised at how most Westerners think we Chinese steam our vegetables. In fact, we prefer either to blanch them quickly in hot, lightly salted water or to stir-fry them quickly in the wok. This is one of the few recipes in which aubergine is actually steamed instead of stir-fried. Steaming it whole and then covering it with a tasty sauce is not only easy, but also a very nutritious way of enjoying the vegetable, and certainly less greasy.
It is worth trying to get the Chinese variety if you can: you will find it slightly sweeter.
If you are using Chinese aubergine, leave it whole. If you are using the ordinary purple variety, trim it, cut it in half lengthways and score the skin side by cutting diagonal crossways slashes.
Next, set up a steamer, or put a rack into a wok or deep pan, and fill it with 5 cm (
Clean out the wok and wipe it dry. Heat the wok or a large frying pan over a high heat until it is hot. Swirl in the groundnut and sesame oils and, when the oil is very hot and slightly smoking, drizzle it over the aubergines. Garnish with the fresh coriander and serve at once.
© 1998 Ken Hom. All rights reserved.