My wife, Carolyn, and I were introduced to Masterpiece Restaurant by an acquaintance, Christiane Lauterbach, who is the much acclaimed food critic for Atlanta magazine. The restaurant requires a trek from central Atlanta. It is far out on Buford Highway and is tucked into a nondescript strip mall. It is small and unprepossessing — but do not be fooled. The cuisine lives up to the restaurant’s name. One of their signature dishes, Eggplant with Chili Powder and Pepper Ash Powder, is alone worth the journey. It is the dish around which we build our meal. We would be so grateful if it were possible to secure the recipe. Thank you. — Peter Cobb, Atlanta
Chef Rui Liu was happy to share the recipe for Masterpiece’s Eggplant with Chili Powder and Pepper Ash Powder, also called Dry Fried Eggplant. The ingredient list is not long, but we did make a few substitutions since we didn’t have everything in our pantry.
When we couldn’t find Chinese eggplant readily available in our area, we tested the recipe with a small Italian eggplant. It worked fine, although an Italian eggplant might not be as tender as the Chinese variety. The chicken seasoning used at the restaurant is granulated chicken soup base. We suggest trying this with granulated chicken bouillon or you could just a 1/4 teaspoon of the jarred soup base available in the soup section of your grocery store. For the dried red peppers, we suggest sliced red Thai peppers, sliced chile del arbol or dried red pepper flakes. Please be conscious of the heat tolerance in your household and adjust the red pepper, cayenne and Sichuan peppercorn levels to taste.
Sichuan peppercorns are also called “dehydrated prickly ash” so you may find them sold by either name.
Masterpiece’s Eggplant with Chili Powder and Pepper Ash Powder
From the menu of … Masterpiece, 3940 Buford Highway, Duluth. 770-622-1191. www.facebook.com/pg/Masterpiece-658304740912215/
Is there a recipe from a metro Atlanta restaurant you’d like to make at home? Tell us and we’ll try to get it. We’ll also test it and adapt it for the home kitchen. Because of volume, we can’t answer all inquiries. Send your request, your address and phone number to email@example.com and put “From the menu of” and the name of restaurant in the subject line.
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