Fish-fragrant eggplant (Yu xiang qie zi)


Probably as famous as ma po doufu, this is a favourite among homesick Sichuan folk the world over. There's no fish in the dish - it's flavouring is named for the seasonings used in traditional fish cookery. Dainty Sichuan's South Yarra version offers crunchy eggplant, while its city-store version is the buttery traditional one you see here.

You'll need

75 ml Chinkiang black vinegar 30 gm caster sugar For deep-frying: vegetable oil 600 gm eggplant (about 2), cut into finger-sized pieces 8-10 long red pickled chillies, finely chopped (see note) 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped 3 tsp finely grated ginger 100 ml chicken stock 100 ml Shaoxing wine 1 tbsp potato flour 4 spring onions, thinly sliced, to serve

Method

  • 01
  • Combine vinegar and sugar in a bowl and set aside.
  • 02
  • Heat oil to 180C in a wok over medium-high heat. Add eggplant in batches and deep-fry until golden and just tender (3-4 minutes; be careful, hot oil will spit), then drain well on absorbent paper.
  • 03
  • Carefully ladle oil into a heatproof container (cool, then discard), leaving 2 tbsp oil in wok. Add pickled chilli, garlic and ginger to wok, and stir-fry until fragrant (30 seconds). Add eggplant, stock, Shaoxing wine and vinegar mixture, season to taste with salt, reduce heat to medium and simmer until liquid is absorbed (6-8 minutes). Mix potato flour with 2 tbsp cold water to combine, add to eggplant mixture and stir to thicken (1 minute), then serve hot scattered with spring onion.

Note Pickled chillies are available from Chinese grocers.


At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people
The Gourmet Traveller podcast

Each fortnight we round up the most interesting characters from the food world for your listening pleasure. We chat to chefs, cooks, authors, bar tenders and baristas - anyone who has something new and interesting to say about the way we like to eat and drink.

Listen
Recipe collections

Looking for fresh dinner ideas? Not sure how to make the most out of seasonal produce? Or do you need to plan the perfect party menu? Our recipe collections have you covered.

See more

At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people

Drink Suggestion

Cold dry pilsner

Featured in

Jun 2013

You might also like...

Chinese recipes

recipes

Good Luck Pinbone's Sichuan chilli eggplant with wood-ear fungus

Deep-fried chicken with finger-lime sauce

recipes

Dan dan noodles

Bang bang chicken and rice stick noodle salad

recipes

Hand-cut egg noodles in broth with beef shin and tendon

Ants climbing trees

recipes

Hakka-style eggplant with prawn filling

conversion tool