Zena's Sichuan Aubergines
Heat your oven to 200°C/180°C fan.
Pierce the aubergines all over with a small knife and rub with vegetable oil. Bake in a roasting tin, turning occasionally, for 1 hour, or until completely softened.
Meanwhile, toast the Sichuan peppercorns in a dry pan over medium heat until nice and fragrant, around 1 min. Transfer to a mortar and pound with a pestle until ground.
Mince the garlic and finely chop the ginger. Place them in a bowl with the ground Sichuan peppercorns, light soy sauce, garlic chilli paste, sugar, rice wine vinegar, and 300ml water. Mix the corn flour with a couple of tablespoons of water and add to the sauce.
Whisk the tahini and toasted sesame oil until smooth then add 150ml water and whisk again until smooth. It will split and look like it won’t emulsify but trust the process! After a couple of minutes, it will come together in a thick, creamy sauce. Season with salt and set aside.
Take the aubergines out of the oven. Place the sauce in a large wok and bring to a simmer over high heat. Add the aubergine and cook for 3 mins, turning often to coat the aubergine in the sauce.
Thinly slice the spring onions.
To serve, smooth the tahini sauce on the base of a serving dish. Place the aubergines on top and drizzle with the sauce. Top with a sprinkle of crispy onions, peanuts and spring onions.