Szechuan Eggplant

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3 cups vegetable oil
2 Asian eggplants, quartered
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 shallots, sliced
2 teaspoons chili sauce
1 thumb-sized knob ginger, minced
4 tablespoons fermented Chinese black beans
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons rice wine
4 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon ground roasted Szechuan peppercorns

Heat vegetable oil in a wok or large pan then fry eggplant in batches until golden brown. Remove eggplant and drain on paper towels. Drain all but 5 tablespoons of oil from the wok then add garlic, shallots, ginger and chili sauce and cook until fragrant. Add black beans, soy sauces, rice wine vinegar, rice wine and sugar. Boil for 2 minutes then add the eggplant to the pan and toss to coat. Serve in a bowl and sprinkle with Szechuan peppercorns. Serves 4 to 6.

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