Sichuan Roasted Chili Eggplant (Liang Ban Qie Zi)

1 pound small Asian eggplant
1/2 pound mildly spicy green chilies (er jing tiao, large jalapeno, poblano)
1 tablespoon minced (not pureed) garlic (about 4 medium cloves)
4 tablespoons white rice vinegar
6 tablespoons canola or rapeseed oil
6 tablespoons Chinese light soy sauce
3 tablespoons green Sichuan pepper oil (qing hua jiao or teng jiao oil)
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon Maggi seasoning sauce
1 tablespoon chili oil (don’t include flakes)
1 teaspoon sugar
2 green onions, green parts only, thinly sliced
handful cilantro, chopped

Bring water to a boil in a steamer. Cut the eggplant in half horizontally, place in a bowl and carefully place bowl into steamer when water begins to boil. Steam for about 20 minutes. You want the eggplant to be luxuriously soft and creamy. Remove from steamer and let cool, then cut each piece in half vertically and into large bite-size pieces.

While eggplant is steaming, roast the green chilies. This can be done directly over a stovetop fire, in a hot, dry pan or under a broiler. Turn the chilies so that all of the skin gets charred and the chili blackens almost entirely, as larger chilies will need to cook that long to be roasted. Put blackened chilies in a plastic bag and let them sweat for a few minutes so the skin will be easier to remove. When cool, peel the skin off, remove the seeds and dice the chilies into small cubes.

In a bowl or large mixing cup add the garlic and white rice vinegar and let the garlic soak for a few minutes to tame the heat. Then add the other sauce ingredients: oil, soy sauce, Sichuan pepper oil, oyster sauce, Maggi seasoning, chili oil and sugar. Whisk ingredients together until well blended and emulsified. Add diced green chilies to the sauce.

Arrange eggplant pieces in a shallow serving bowl and pour the green chili sauce over them. Garnish with green onion and cilantro. Serve at room temperature.

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