Asian or Japanese eggplant is sold in a package of 2-3. The size and weight is lightly different from one package to another. You need to adjust the seasoning depending on eggplants’ weight. Gather and prepare all ingredients before starting to cook.
Make 4 servings as a side dish in multiple-course meal.
3 light purple, skinny eggplants (Japanese eggplant) about 1¾ lb or globe eggplant about
1 Tbs minced garlic about 3 garlic cloves
4 tsp fish sauce or soysauce
3/4 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1 Tbs vegetable oil
1 green onion or a few sprigs of cilantro
Peel eggplants (unless you want to keep the skin) one at a time. Cut into 1/2 in. cube /globe eggplant, or wedges/Japanese eggplant: 2 in. long and 1/2 in thick ( the outer part near skin). Cover with water. Drain them just right before start to cook.
Mince garlic, thinly slice green onion, and cilantro.
Heating oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat, Add garlic, stir a few second, when garlic turns light tan. Add eggplant, the water will made a splashing noise but it will help to cook eggplant.
We can either stir the eggplant until it starts browning at a few spot. Add 1/4 cup water, fish sauce or soy sauce (Use 1 Tbs if you do not know how salty fish sauce or soy sauce you have) and sugar. Bring it back to a boil, cover. Then reduce the heat to simmer. Cover and stirring occasionally until the eggplants are soft, easy pulled apart about 7-10 minutes, add more water if needed. Most of them should become darker and transparent but there will be a few pieces (the part near the stem) still have opaque color and will become clearer when they are cooling down. Taste and season if needed.
Or just make a quick stirring to coat eggplant with oil, add fish sauce or soy sauce, sugar and cover immediately to keep the steam in which help to cook the eggplant without extra water. Turn the heat down to medium, stir occasionally until eggplant soft and a few caramel spots formed at the bottom pieces. Taste and season if needed. If the eggplants is not soft, add a little water (start with 1/4 cup) bring back to a boil, cover, and simmer until cooked.
Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with black pepper, and green onion or cilantro.
*Note: Eggplant will hold the shape better with less water.