chicken and eggplant stir fry 

I love eggplant.  It’s one of my absolute favorite veggies.  I always order it when I go out because hubs doesn’t really like it and neither do my kids.  I especially like it at Chinese restaurants and have tried to make it at home like the Chinese restaurants…sadly, mine never came out the same. I asked my friend’s mom, who is an amazing cook (and Chinese), how to make Chinese-style eggplant and she straight up told me – you won’t do it at home because to get it the way you like, all soft and delicious, would take so much oil that you’d faint.  I was like,”Oil??? What?!?!” Um, yes… apparently the dish I like needs an insane amount of oil. So, no more Chinese restaurant eggplant! But this dish comes pretty darn close without all the oil.

Let me say something here.  I am a recipe girl, remember?  Also, I started really cooking as an adult.  I’d talk to people early on when I was just learning to cook and they’d say things like, “I never measure…” or “Just add until it tastes right.”  That was like a nightmare for me so I’d actually tune out.  I couldn’t imagine life without the safety and comfort of recipe measurements.  But sure enough, over time and with enough practice, I can now guesstimate ingredient quantities and season to taste without freaking out. This is one of those recipes.  I saw it somewhere but I’ve made it my own just by adding more seasonings to taste.  The trick is this (and it may be obvious but I’ll say it anyways) – start small.  You can always add but it’s so much harder to make things less salty or less sweet!  Be conservative and keep adding in small increments until you are more comfortable.  I will add some basic measurements but this dish is really by taste.  Also, it’s a perfect example of something that tastes amazing but looks so blah.

Another funny tidbit about this dish. When I made this there were leftovers which let me pack enough for me, hubs’ and daughter’s lunch. I made hub’s portion mostly chicken, mine mostly eggplant and daughter’s a balance but with a little more chicken than eggplant. When I picked her up from school, I asked how her lunch was and she said it was good except she wished there was more eggplant.  I said “Oh no! I purposely took all the eggplant because I thought you’d prefer more chicken!” She burst into tears (no joke) and said she LOVES the eggplant and now she has to wait until the next time I make it (which I already shared will probably be in a few months).  So, I guess this dish is tear-worthy!!!  🙂

Chicken and Eggplant Stir-fry

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced ginger
Salt and pepper
1 eggplants, ends trimmed, cut into 1-inch thick plank like pieces
1 onion, sliced
1 bell pepper, sliced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1-2 teaspoons sugar

*I added several shakes of gochugaru, korean pepper flakes, because I tend to add it to anything Asian but this is completely optional and I’ve done it many times without!

DIRECTIONS

Cut chicken breasts into 1-2 inch long pieces, however you like your stir fry to look.  I tend to make them long like the sliced onion, bell pepper and eggplant.

Heat wok on high heat.  Add oil to wok.  Then add garlic and ginger and cook about a minute or when the garlic starts to brown but NOT burn!  Add in chicken and cook a few minutes until almost cooked through.  Add in all the veggies.  Cook about 3-5 minutes until everything is cooked through.

Add soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar and if using, gochugaru.  Stir and mix until all the flavors are combined.  Serve over or with white rice!

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