The most common variety of Chinese aubergines are long and snake-like, and come in startling shades of bright purple to delicate violet. A favourite way to prepare them is this: steamed, torn and dressed with a simple, more-ish dressing.
2 long Chinese aubergines**
A fat clove of garlic
1 tbsp light soy sauce, diluted with the same volume water
A few drops (scant 1/4 tsp) roasted sesame oil
2 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp Chinkiang vinegar
Wash the aubergines thoroughly and slice into sections of around 3in/10cm. Steam over high heat for 15-20 mins, til very tender but not falling apart.
While the aubergine is steaming, prepare the sauce: finely mince the clove of garlic and mix together with the rest of the ingredients. Taste and adjust seasoning - there should be a pleasant bite to it.
Allow the steamed aubergine to cool til they're warm but not hot, then gently tear off strips of each section and arrange in one layer on a plate. Give the dressing a stir and then pour over the aubergine and serve immediately.
**this recipe will work with the emoji-shaped aubergines as well. Just cut it into quarters length-wise, then each of those strips into two or three, and proceed as above