Spicy Chinese Eggplant and Chicken

Photo on Yelp from "Cindy L." of her Hunan House meal in Columbus, OH

Here's a promised recipe to use with any leftover chicken you've roasted.   Cut 2 cups of roasted chicken breasts into thin strips.  (Or if you've jointed a whole raw chicken, you can cut the raw breasts into strips and saute and remove to plate.)  For vegans and vegetarians, this recipe is also delicious with tempeh, tofu or cooked garbanzo or white beans.

Soak 2 TB fermented black beans (these are not black beans, they're fermented soy beans available at Asian markets) in boiling water for half an hour and then mash them with the back of a spoon.

Prepare Chinese 5 spice:  Stir together 1 tsp. ground Szechuan pepper,1 tsp. ground star anise,1-1/4 tsp. ground fennel seeds,1/2 tsp. ground cloves,1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon. You will be using 1/2 tsp for this recipe.  You can store the remainder for the future in a small jar with a tight lid.

Trim stems and slice 2 small Japanese eggplants on the bias in 1/2-inch pieces

Chop a small onion

Cut a sweet red or green pepper in thin strips.

Thinly slice 3 green onions, keeping white and green parts separate

Crush and mince 3 large garlic cloves and mince 2 TB fresh garlic root.

Chop 3 TB fresh basil or cilantro. 

Heat cast iron skillet.  Toast sesame seeds until they just pop and remove and cool.  If you want you can toast extra and use later, storing in another small jar with a tight lid.

Coat skillet lightly with extra virgin olive oil or peanut oil (the latter is more traditional in Chinese cooking.)  Add to skillet:  ginger, garlic and white part of green onion, 1/2 t. crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste), 1/2 t. black pepper (or to taste) and cook to soften. 

Add fermented black beans and chopped onion and cook until soft.  Add 1 TB balsamic vinegar, 1 TB toasted sesame oil, 2 tsp of a pinch of sugar, 1/2 tsp Chinese 5 spice and mix well.

eggplants and mix well and cook until soft, but not mushy. Add the cooked chicken and 2 cups of sweet pepper strips and cook until chicken is warmed through and the peppers are just tender crisp. Serve over brown steamed rice garnished with green parts of onion, chopped herbs and toasted sesame seeds.