Chicago’s relatively new but already adored restaurant Giant serves “simple, delicious (slightly cheffy) food” that people absolutely love. If you can’t make it to Logan Square to try it first-hand, make their sweet and sour eggplant at home and you’ll get it. Tangy, deeply savory, sweet, spicy, and just the right amount of salty, this complex and fragrant dish is simply fantastic. The recipe has been adapted to use standard home kitchen measurements instead of the precise gram weight measurements they use at the restaurant, but otherwise it’s been left alone. You’ll need a deep, heavy-bottomed pot and a thermometer for deep-frying, plus a spider to lift the eggplant from the hot oil. You can find fermented soybean paste sold as doenjang at Asian markets or online, and can find gochujang online or in Asian markets as well (or even in your supermarket if you’re lucky).
If you do a lot of deep frying, or if frying on the stove top makes you nervous, invest in an electric fryer. This one uses less oil, has a built-in thermostat for consistent results, is non-stick for easy cleaning, and is reasonably priced to boot.Buy Now ›
Recipe adapted from Giant, reprinted with permission. Photo by Anjali Pinto.