Recipe from Global Kitchen: Lindy Smith | Photography: Grant Rooney

A deliciously filling vegetable dish with complex sweet and savoury flavours.

Serves 4 –entrée size

Sichuan Caramel
100g liquid honey
450g caster sugar
4 long red chillies
100ml soy sauce
100ml red wine vinegar
70g miso paste
70ml black Chinese vinegar
50g gochujang paste
20g Sichuan peppercorns (roasted and ground)
30g ginger paste
30g garlic paste
50ml chilli oil

Tempura Aubergine
4 aubergines
1 packet tempura flour
2L oil for frying
coriander stalks – garnish
spring onions – garnish
sesame seeds – garnish

Place honey and sugar into a large saucepan and heat on low to medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat and (using the thermometer) continue to cook until it reaches a temperature of 120°C. Finely slice the long red chillies and combine in a bowl with the rest of the ingredients for the Sichuan caramel, stir to combine. Once the sugar has reached 120°C pour the caramel mix into the sugar. The sugar will harden a little, continue stirring until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil and continue stirring until the mixture has a thick syrupy consistency. Transfer to a glass jar and set aside. This will store for up to 1 month in the refrigerator.

Heat the oil in a large pot or wok to 170°C. Make the tempura flour batter according to the instructions on the packet. Slice the aubergine lengthways into batons, transfer to a bowl and completely coat in batter.

Once the oil is hot, cook the aubergine in small batches until the batter has set and changed colour to a warm golden brown. Drain on paper towels and season with a little salt. Transfer to a mixing bowl and pour Sichuan caramel to coat. Toss together and place on a serving dish. Add chopped coriander stalks, spring onion (white part only) and sesame seeds to garnish.

Note: You will need a food thermometer for the caramel. Pre-made tempura flour is available from Asian food stores and will save you time and mess.

Read book review here.

RRP $49.99
Written by Lindy Davis, photography by Grant Rooney

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