1 1/2 lbs Japanese Eggplant (about 4 x 10 inch eggplants)
2 teaspoons salt
bowl of water
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2–4 tablespoons peanut oil ( or wok oil)
4 cloves garlic, rough chopped
2 teaspoons ginger, finely minced
5–10 dried red chilies
For Szechuan Sauce
1 teaspoon Szechuan peppercorns ( or sub regular peppercorns)
1/4 cup soy sauce or low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon garlic chili paste ( or sub 1 teaspoon chili flakes)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon Chinese cooking wine (or mirin)
3 tablespoons sugar, brown sugar, coconut sugar, maple syrup or alternative
1/2 teaspoon five spice
To make Szechuan Sauce
Toast the Szechuan peppercorns in a dry skillet over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Crush. Place these along with the remaining ingredients ( soy, chili paste, sesame oil, rice vinegar, Chinese cooking wine, sugar, and five spice) in a small bowl and whisk. Set by the stove.
To make eggplant
Once all the eggplant are cut ( 4 x 10-inch eggplants), place in a bowl of salted water for 20 minutes.
Cover with a plate so the eggplant is submerged. Let sit 20-30 mins.
While the eggplant soaks, prep the garlic, ginger and Szechuan sauce and place them by the stove.
Drain the eggplant, rinse, then pat dry with a kitchen towel.
Then coat in cornstarch. This helps the eggplant get crispy.