Spicy aubergine hotpot
This is a Vietnamese inspired dish that's full of so many amazing flavours. If you have Chiu Chow Chilli oil add a teaspoon of this to the mix for a additional layer of smoky, hot umami flavour.
For a complete meal, serve with sauteed garlicky greens and steamed rice.
Serves 2 - 3
2 aubergines, cut into 2 cm cubes
1 onion, half diced, half thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 inch piece ginger, chopped finely
1 chilli, sliced
1 star anise
coriander – small bunch, stalks a leaves chopped
4 Tbsp groundnut or vegetable oil
2 Tbsp sesame oil
2 Tbsp tamari/soy sauce
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp agave syrup
½ cup water
Toasted sesame seeds
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C.
Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a large frying pan and sautee the aubergine – best to do it in two batches so you don't overcrowd the pan. Fry the aubergine pieces, turning occasionally, until they soften a bit and start to brown on the surface. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
In an oven-proof saucepan, over a medium heat coat the base of the pot with 1 Tbsp oil and add the chopped onion, garlic and ginger. If using Chiu Chow chilli oil, add a headed tsp of the chilli at this point. Remove the stalks from the coriander and chop the stalks finely. Add these to the pot and set aside the coriander leaves for garnish. Keep stirring until the onions soften. Add the chilli, star anise and aubergine to the pot along with the soy sauce/tamari, sesame oil, rice vinegar and agave. Add some water so that the aubergine is just covered and stir thoroughly so all the flavours are combined. Put a lid on it and place in the oven for 30 minutes.
Remove from oven – the aubergine should be really soft by now and the sauce reduced and thickened a bit.
Leave to cool for a few minutes as it will be piping hot. Garnish with some fresh sliced chilli, chopped coriander leaves and toasted sesame seeds and serve with steamed rice and garlicky sautéed spinach.