This is a delicious stir-fry from Lucy Waverman, written for the Autumn 2013 issue of the LCBO’s Food and Drink. Chicken, eggplant and red pepper are flavoured with garlic, ginger, chili flakes, cinnamon, cocoa powder, balsamic vinegar and capers. I didn’t have cocoa powder, so I used finely grated dark chocolate instead.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Be sure to use spices without colour and anti-caking agents. Look for a balsamic vinegar with no sulfites added, and for an all-natural brand of capers, such as Unico.

Remove strips of peel and dice the eggplant

Dice the chicken and season it with salt, pepper and cayenne

Saute the chicken with garlic and ginger

I served this dish with steamed broccoli and rice


1 eggplant, about 1 lb (500 g)

12 oz (375 g) boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Salt and freshly ground pepper

¼ tsp (1 ml) cayenne

¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil

1 tbsp (15 ml) minced garlic

2 tsp (10 ml) minced ginger

1 red pepper, seeded and finely diced

1 cup (250 ml) chopped onion

1 tbsp (15 ml) granulated sugar

1 tsp (5 ml) red pepper chili flakes

1 tsp (5 ml) cinnamon

½ tsp (2 ml) cocoa powder

Pinch cayenne

3 tbsp (45 ml) balsamic vinegar

2 tsp (10 ml) capers
¼ cup (60 ml) water

Garnish – Chopped Italian parsley


Trim the ends off the eggplant and using a vegetable peeler, create stripes by removing strips of skin, 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart. Chop into ½-inch (1-cm) cubes.

Dice chicken into 1-inch (2.5-cm) pieces and season with salt, pepper and cayenne. Heat 3 tbsp (45 ml) oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chicken, garlic and ginger to pan and sauté until just turning colour, about 3 minutes. Remove chicken and reserve.

Add remaining oil, eggplant, red pepper, onion, sugar, chili flakes, cinnamon, cocoa powder and cayenne to skillet. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes or until onions start to brown. Stir continuously to prevent spices from burning.

Stir in vinegar and capers. Sauté for 4 to 6 minutes or until vegetables are very tender. Return chicken and any juices to skillet. Add water and bring to a boil, stirring. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked and the mixture is thick, dark and glossy. The flavours should melt into each other. Taste for seasoning, adding salt, pepper and more balsamic vinegar if desired. Sprinkle with Italian parsley. Serves 4.

From the Autumn 2013 issue of Food and Drink