"If you love eggplant as much as I do, this is a great dish to rustle up when you're time-poor. It's a home-style dish that I first tried in Shanghai several moons ago," says Tan. "Once you've made this magnificent dressing, you'll be wondering why you haven't tried it before. The roasted sesame paste really enhances the silky texture of the steamed eggplant. Serve the eggplant on its own or with whatever spring greens that catch your eye. I have enjoyed it with broad beans, water spinach and pickled vegetables with chillies. It's particularly delicious when served alongside Shanghai-style chilled noodles."
- 6 Japanese eggplant (long thin eggplant; about 600gm), quartered
- 200 gm podded broad beans (about 500gm unpodded)
- 1 spring onion, thinly sliced
- 1 tsp roasted sesame seeds
- 1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
- 1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp Chinese roasted sesame paste (optional; see note)
- 1½ tbsp Chinkiang vinegar
- 1½ tbsp light soy sauce
- ½ tsp dark soy sauce
- ½ tsp caster sugar
- 1Steam eggplant in a bamboo steamer basket or a colander over a saucepan or wok of boiling water until soft (10-15 minutes). Remove from heat, cool briefly (2-3 minutes), then transfer to a large bowl and crush lightly.
- 2Blanch broad beans in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until tender (2-3 minutes). Refresh, drain, then peel. Crush lightly and add to bowl with eggplant.
- 3For soy-sesame dressing, stir ingredients in a bowl until sugar dissolves
- 4Pour dressing over eggplant and toss gently to coat. Serve topped with spring onion and sesame seeds.
You could also sprinkle with fried crisp shallots and chilli flakes for added interest. Chinese roasted sesame paste is available from Asian grocers.
Drink suggestion: Skin-contact sauvignon blanc. Drink suggestion by Max Allen.