This weekend's LA Times Festival of Books is a very hot ticket -- and with the addition of a Cooking Stage, the food nerds are clamoring to get there just as much as the book nerds.
Carla Hall, of "Top Chef" and "The Chew," will take to the stage to cook from her cookbook, Carla's Comfort Foods. We got our hands on the recipe, in case you want to replicate it! Carla serves this flavorful dish with rice.
Hot and Sour Eggplant
5 small, stripy eggplants or Chinese or Japanese eggplants, trimmed, cut in eighths lengthwise, then cut in halves crosswise
3 quarts warm water
2 serrano chiles, stemmed and minced, with seeds
1 tablespoon sugar
11/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 scallions (green onions), trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons sliced fresh basil leaves
Sprinkle the eggplant pieces with 1 tablespoon salt, then immerse in the warm water in a large bowl. Let stand while you prepare the other ingredients.
In a small bowl, stir the chiles, sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, and cornstarch until the sugar dissolves.
Drain the eggplant very well and press dry between paper towels. Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat until very hot. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil, then add half of the eggplant. Cook, tossing and stirring, until browned and just tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining oil and eggplant, and then return the ﬁrst batch of eggplant to the wok.
Add the scallions and the chile mixture. Cook, tossing and stirring, for 2 minutes. Toss in the basil and serve immediately.
- Soaking the eggplant in warm water, then squeez- ing it dry before cooking, helps the ﬂesh stay intact during high-heat stir-frying.
- If you don't have a huge wok and a crazy-hot ﬂame, cook the eggplant in batches to make sure it browns properly. I timed it and found that you don't