Spicy Eggplant in Black Bean Sauce

2 large eggplants, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 - 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup vegetable stock
2 T. rice wine vinegar
2 T. tamari
2 T. barley malt syrup
2 T. dry sherry
1 T. ginger, minced
1/4 t. sambal olek
3 T. safflower oil, divided
1 cup red pepper, destemmed, deseeded, cut into quarters lengthwise, and julienned
1/2 cup serrano chiles, destemmed, deseeded, and diced
1 T. garlic, minced
1 cup green onions, sliced diagonally

In a colander, place the cubes of eggplant, sprinkle with salt, and leave to drain in the sink for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, place the black beans, vegetable stock, vinegar, tamari, barley malt syrup, sherry, ginger, and sambal olek, and cook over low heat for 10 minutes. Rinse the eggplant to remove the salt, squeeze the cubes to remove excess water, and place the cubes on a towel to dry a bit. In a wok or large non-stick skillet, stir-fry the red pepper and serrano chiles in 1 T. of the safflower oil for 2-3 minutes or until crisp tender. Remove the red pepper and chiles and set aside. Add the remaining oil to the wok and stir-fry the garlic for 1 minute. Add the eggplant, saute for 5 minutes or until it is tender and well browned. Add the green onions and stir-fry an additional 2 minutes. Add the reserved red pepper and chiles, and the black bean sauce; stir well to combine, and cook an additional 1-2 minutes or until heated thorough. Transfer to a large bowl or platter for service.

Serves 6-8


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