in Garlic Sauce
Segal's Oasis Grill, Owner Daniel Gilkarov, Phoenix, Arizona
Recipe from Secret Restaurant Recipes by Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek
Reprinted with permission from the copyright holders: ArtScroll/Mesorah Publications
When Leah and I first discussed writing a restaurant cookbook, the first thought that came to my mind was, "The eggplant from Segal's."
1 lb. eggplant, cut into 1½-inch chunks
kosher salt, for sprinkling
1 lb. skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
3 Tbsp. cornstarch, for dredging
3 Tbsp. chopped garlic
¼ tsp. chili pepper flakes
⅓ cup shredded carrots
canola or vegetable oil, for frying
⅓ cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. cornstarch
Sprinkle eggplant chunks with salt; allow to rest for 20-30 minutes (this process will prevent eggplant from soaking up too much oil during frying). Rinse salt from eggplant and drain well.
Meanwhile, prepare the sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, black pepper, and cornstarch. Set aside.
Prepare the chicken: Place cornstarch into a shallow dish; toss the chicken in cornstarch to coat very well.
Heat 3-inches oil in a wok or 1-inch oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add chicken to hot oil and pan-fry until golden, 2-3 minutes per side. Remove from oil and set aside.
Add the eggplant to the same pan and fry until light golden, 2-3 minutes. Remove from oil and set aside. Discard oil, leaving about 1 tablespoon in the wok or pan.
Add garlic and chili pepper flakes and stir-fry for about 30 seconds. Return chicken and eggplant to the pan. Add carrots and sauce and stir-fry for 2 minutes, coating all the ingredients well with the sauce.
V-When you see those tall, skinny Asian or Japanese eggplants in your supermarket or farmer's market toward the end of the summer (when they're grown locally) — grab them and make this dish. Segal's imports Asian eggplants from Japan and they help make this dish extra special.
Closer Look At Segal's, this dish can also be ordered with either beef or tofu instead of chicken. For a vegetarian entrée, replace chicken with 1-pound firm tofu cut into 1-inch cubes. You may need to adjust the cooking time specified in Step 4.
"Of all the rules of the kitchen that I have learned and followed over the years, I feel the most important one is if you enjoy cooking, then you do it right. Try not to cook if in a foul mood. And just have fun."