In my restaurants I’ll quite often serve this as a garnish to barbecued quail, chicken or seafood. I love anything with hot bean paste in it, but the combination of the mellow sweetness of yellow rock sugar, the sourness of vinegar and the spicy hot numbing flavour of Sichuan pepper is really great here. You can sauté the eggplant rather than deep-frying, then stir-fry it in the sauce — you’ll get the same result.
Cut the eggplants in half lengthways. Heat the oil in a wok or deep-fryer until just smoking (180°C/350°F), and deep-fry the eggplant in batches until golden brown. Drain on paper towel.
Return the wok to the heat with
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