Cold Eggplant 涼拌茄子

Quick, simple, and practically fat free. Great dish to prepare ahead of time and put in the refrigerator.

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 5 mins

2 long eggplants
4 tablespoons soy paste
2 tablespoons cold water
2 tablespoons black vinegar *optional*
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon minced garlic
a little bit of chopped red chili pepper *optional*

  1. Boil water to steam the eggplant (or you can opt to use the microwave).
  2. Cut eggplants to finger-length strips.
  3. Steam eggplants for 5 minutes in boiling water (or microwave for 5 mins. covered with wet towel)
  4. While eggplants are steaming, mix all the other ingredients in a bowl.
  5. When the eggplants are done, pour the mix over them and place in refrigerator. 
Another variety of this dish is a little more sour and spicy, which is why I had the vinegar and chili as optional  ingredients.

Eggplants tend to darken pretty quickly after being exposed to air.  You can soak the eggplants in saltwater for a little bit to prevent the color from changing.

How to choose eggplants 
I recommend these long skinny eggplants because they will give you a more even cut and the flavor and texture would be closer to the Taiwanese style dish. Make sure to pick the firm ones, not soft because the soft ones are too old. 

Kimlan Soy Paste 
I recommend this brand of soy paste because of its flavor. It has a very pleasant sweet flavor versus the cheaper brands which are just bland and salty.  In fact, Kimlan any sauce are more favorable in any Taiwanese cooking.