Basil Eggplant and Sulfuric Acid

Basil Eggplant

This is my favorite celebrity chef. Following his instructions has always yielded pretty good results!

Here I am reporting on a modified version of the basil eggplant dish, which was tweaked because I hate frying things, I don’t have enough oil anyways, and I sadly also don’t have vinegar nor sweet soy sauce paste.

It’s pretty simple and doesn’t require a lot of ingredients, but if you’re a sucker for basil and garlic like me, this is a pretty awesome dish that goes super well with rice!

Purpose:
Create an eggplant dish.

Hypothesis:
It is possible to create an eggplant dish without setting things on fire.

Materials:
Eggplant
— a large one
(large as in a foot-long, 2.5 inch diameter eggplant. I thought they were normal, but apparently one of my housemates didn’t think it could be even called an eggplant, so 2 standard ones would probably do.)
Basil — 1 bundle (approximately 3 dozen leaves)
Garlic — 3 cloves
Soy Sauce — 6 spoons (or 4 capfuls)
Sugar — 6 heaping spoons
Salt — 1 spoon
(My spoon is rather shallow, only 0.5 inches deep at most, with a flat area of 1-1.5 square inches by rough estimation… go figure.)
Oil

Methods:
1.Chop the eggplant up into large chunks, sprinkle the salt over them, and toss lightly.
2.Wash the basil, and dry half of the leaves. Finely chop up the other half and the garlic.
3.Mix the soy sauce with the sugar, and add in about 50ml water.
4.Fill a flat pan with oil to about 1 centimeter thick and heat it. When the oil starts to boil, turn the stove to the lowest setting.
5.Carefully slide the eggplant into the oil, followed by the unchopped basil leaves shortly after. Keep on turning the eggplant chunks, and drain the oil after the white part of all the eggplant chunks change color. Temporarily place the cooked basil-and-eggplant on a plate. (It might help to place a paper napkin on the plate first to soak up extra oil.)
6.With the empty flat pan, keep the stove on the lowest setting and put in the chopped garlic-and-basil. Saute lightly, without oil.
7.Add the basil-and-eggplant into the garlic-and-basil, and after a minute or so add the soy sauce-sugar mixture in as well. Cook until the eggplant is entirely soft.
8.Serve with Rice.

Data and Results:
Collection of data did not begin until I finished the experiment and decided I wanted to do this blog… so there’s only one image.

Basil Eggplant
Figure 1: Results

Yummy eggplant goes really well with rice.
Makes approximately two portions: for reference, half of the dish went down with an entire bowl of rice when I was eating it (Fig1).
The kitchen was not set on fire, but it was rather close to being so (Analysis).

Analysis:
I didn’t properly fry the eggplant as the chef did in the video, but even with the half-fry/half-stir-fry method I could see that the eggplants took in a LOT of oil. However, it tasted surprisingly like the “3 dollar stir-fry-shop plates” back home, so I shudder to think about how much oil I actually  unknowingly ‘drink’ down whenever I eat at these places (best not to think about it).

Next time I might try steaming the eggplant then directly saute-ing it, or briefly dipping eggplant chunks in oil before baking then saute-ing. Second option sounds better especially when taking the basil into account, and I will update if alternatives are successful.

Adding sugar in place of the sweet soy sauce paste actually worked surprisingly well!
Didn’t really notice the lack of vinegar, though it probably would have helped. I should go and buy some.

Lastly, remember I mentioned drying the basil leaves before adding them to the pan? That’s because the derpy highlight of this endeavor was when I spaced out and carelessly tossed basil leaves dripping in water into the pan…and tadaaaaa, MINI EXPLOSION! Massive oil spit! Cue exciting times with me backing against the wall and facepalming due to my own stupidity.

I had a sudden flashback to my first chemistry class in 8th grade when we were quizzed on random experiment safety procedures that was a part of summer homework. One of the things the teacher kept on repeating was “do NOT dilute sulfuric acid by pouring water in. It will boil and spurt everywhere, things may explode, you’ll regret it and I’ll make sure you never step inside this lab again.”
(+ I went and refreshed my memory, you’re welcome: http://chemistry.about.com/od/chemistrystudentfaqs/f/sulfuricwater.htm )

Conclusion:
I should remember my chemistry classes better. But the kitchen is not on fire…

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