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Heilongjiang Potatoes

Heilongjiang Potatoes
1 medium-size eggplant, peeled and cut in thin strips
2 carrots, peeled and cut in thin strips
2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut in thin strips
½ cup peanut oil
1 star anise
3 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and minced
3 Tablespoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon coarse salt
½ teaspoon powdered chicken bouillon powder
1 teaspoon granulated sugar, divided
3 Tablespoons cured ham, shredded
1 chili pepper, seeded and minced
½ teaspoon sesame oil
3 Tablespoons thin soy sauce
½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
2 Teaspoons cornstarch mixed with 2 teaspoons cold water

1. Soak potato, carrot, and eggplant strips, each in its own bowl, in cold water for one hour, then drain and dry them in their own towel.
2. Heat oil in a wok or fry-pan, add the star anise, and stir-fry until it turns black, then discard it.
3. Deep-fry the vegetables, one at a time, then mix them together, add the vinegar, chicken bouillon, half the sugar, and the ham. and cook this for two minutes before adding the sesame oil. Serve these vegetables hot or warm.
4. Now, mix in the sesame oil, thin soy sauce, crushed black peppercorns,, and the cornstarch mixture, and boil this until thick, about one minute, then set this aside to cook after draining the vegetables until they are soft, then mix them with the cooked sauce and serve them together.

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