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Sticky Sechuan Aubergine with Whipped Tahini

Delicious sweet sticky aubergine paired with a sesame dressing and spring onion. The aubergine can be roasted or grilled on the barbecue and tossed through the sauce for a delicious summer main.

Serves 2 as a main or 4-6 as a side dish

2 aubergines, quartered lengthways

Szechuan sauce:

1 tsp szechuan peppercorns, lightly crushed

1 tsp corn starch

3cm ginger, grated

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp chilli flakes

1 tbsp tomato paste

3 tbsp soy sauce

3 tbsp brown sugar

1 tbsp rice vinegar

½ cup (125ml) water

1/3 cup tahini

2 tbsp toasted sesame oil

150ml water

1 lemon, juiced

To garnish:

2 tbsp sesame seeds

2 spring onion, finely sliced

1 red chilli, finely sliced

1. Preheat the oven to 190C fan. Line a baking tray with baking paper and arrange the aubergine wedges. Drizzle with olive oil and season. Roast for 25 minutes until cooked through and soft.

2. Prepare the sauce – this can be made in advance and reheated ready for when you cook the eggplant. Heat a frying pan over a medium heat and toast the szechuan peppercorns until fragrant. Add the remaining ingredients to the saucepan. Mix the cornstarch with 2 tbsp of cold water and add to the pan, whisking as it thickens to a sticky sauce.

3. Bring the sauce to a gentle simmer and add the eggplant wedges to the pan, tossing to evenly coat in the sauce.

4. Whisk the tahini with sesame oil until smooth then add the water, lemon juice and a pinch of salt. It will look like it has split but keep whisking as it comes together to a smooth, creamy sauce.

5. Spread the tahini on the base of the dish, pile the sticky eggplant on top and scatter over the sesame seeds, spring onion and chilli to serve.

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