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Eggplant is one of those polarizing vegetables—people either adore its soft, spongy texture…or absolutely detest it. For those in the latter camp, we recommend trying this recipe for liáng bàn qié zi, or seasoned steamed eggplant, from Betty Liu’s upcoming cookbook My Shanghai.
“I used to dislike eggplant,” Liu writes, “until I discovered the steaming method. Eggplant is often fried with a lot of oil and ends up being too heavy for my tastes, but steamed eggplant is light and a wonderful vessel to soak up sauce. It’s a fast way to cook eggplant, and even more important, the texture transforms and becomes silky soft, tender and creamy.”
According to Liu, the first step in this recipe—soaking the eggplant in vinegar water—is a trick to retain the vegetable’s gorgeous purple color (otherwise it will turn brown). If you’re short on time, you can skip it, since it has no effect on the taste.
From the book My Shanghai by Betty Liu. Copyright © 2021 by Betty Liu. Published by Harper Design, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Reprinted by permission.
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