Recipe testing for me is always slightly intimidating as it is a true test of your ability to understand chemistry, flavour pairings and time management. My chef’s training doesn’t guarantee the dishes will be foolproof – sometimes a bad dish just happens! Such was the case here. I had this wonderful idea of creating a complicated, slightly smoky, steamed sesame aubergine. Sadly, on first test it didn’t work and took my wife’s lovingly home-grown aubergine with it. Lesson learned: sometimes the success of a dish lies in its simplicity, like in this final version.
300g Chinese aubergines or regular aubergines
1 teaspoon salt
Spring Onion and Garlic Dressing
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon chilli oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped spring onion
1 tablespoon finely chopped coriander
Peel the aubergines and slice them into 2cm x 5cm- thick sticks (roughly thumb-size pieces), put them in a bowl with the salt and cover with cold water.
Mix the dressing ingredients together in a bowl or small ramekin until the sugar is fully dissolved.
Drain the aubergine slices and lay them onto a large plate that will fit in your wok.
Set the wok up with a steamer stand and fill with boiling water to a third of the way up the sides. Place the aubergine plate into the wok, cover with a lid and steam for 10–12 minutes, or until the aubergine is tender.
Remove the plate from the steamer, pour the dressing over the aubergine and mix together lightly.
Tip: To test whether the aubergine is cooked through, insert a fork into one of the pieces. If the fork goes straight through without any trouble, then the aubergine is ready to serve. Serves 2