Sichuan-Style Eggplant

Preparation info

    • Difficulty

      Easy

Appears in

Balance and Harmony

By Neil Perry

Published 2008

  • About

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.

Ingredients

  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) Japanese eggplants (aubergines), trimmed
  • 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • ½ knob of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 spring onions (scallions), sliced into rounds
  • 3 tablespoons shaoxing
  • 3 tablespoons hot bean paste
  • tablespoons yellow bean soy sauce
  • 100 ml ( fl oz) rice vinegar
  • 65 g ( oz/ cup) crushed yellow rock sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground Sichuan pepper

    Method

    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 2 tablespoons of oil and when the oil is just smoking, add the garlic, ginger and spring onions and stir-fry until fragrant. Deglaze the wok with the shaoxing, then add the bean paste, soy sauce, vinegar and sugar and boil for 2 minutes. Return the eggplant to the wok and cook for 2 minutes, mashing slightly so that the eggplant absorbs the flavour of the sauce. Spoon onto a large platter and sprinkle with Sichuan pepper.