Eggplant, Cumin, and Black Bean Salad

Serves 4 as an appetizer

3 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 tablespoons salted (fermented) black beans, rinsed
2 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons caster sugar
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil
1 Asian eggplant, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
2 tomatoes, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
3 to 4 scallions, cut to 2-inch lengths, plus curly shreds for garnish

Toast the cumin seeds in a wok over high heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove and let cool.

For the dressing, combine the cumin, black beans, vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, and garlic in a small bowl. Stir until sugar dissolves.

Heat the oil in a wok over medium-high heat. Add eggplant and cook until lightly golden, about 2 minutes. Add dressing, stirring so eggplant cubes are well-coated. Add scallion stalks and cook for another minute. Remove wok from heat and let cool for a few minutes. Put everything from the wok and tomatoes in a bowl and toss to combine. Plate to serve and garnish with shredded scallion.