Szechuan eggplants is a great chinese dish, slightly spicy Sichuanese flavoured recipe. The long asian eggplants have a firmer texture and bolder flavour in comparison with the western world “big eggplant”. They don’t lose their shape when cooking, resulting into a firmer bite than normal eggplants and they taste great. Simply add a little cornstarch on them before cooking into the wok in order to make the skin slightly crunchier. This meal usually comes with a touch of grounded pork on it, so go for it if you’d like, but this version is a vegetarian one.
This meal comes just like tapas, in the middle of the table to share, with possibly nice dumplings, sticky rice, some wok cooked dish, etc. or if you prefer… as a main meal on white jasmine rice. The secret in this dish is in the ingredients, which are all sichuanese, of course. You’ll probably need to stop at the asian market to find all those ingredients. Especially important is the sichuanese fermented bean paste (Doubanjiang) which is kind of the highly of the meal.
So let’s get that softly spiced sichuanese dish going!
Makes 4 side dish size or 2 main meals
- 4 long asian eggplants cut into thick pieces
- 1 small onion finely sliced
- 1-2 hot thai red pepper finely chopped (1 mildly spicy, 2 spicy)
- 3 tbsp of cornstarch (2 tbsp for the eggplants + 1 tbsp for the sauce)
- 2 tbsp of peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
- 1 tbsp black bean paste (Doubanjiang)
- 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 3 cm cube piece of ginger peeled and finely chopped
- 2 tbsp of dark chinese vinegar (or balsamic vinegar)
- 2 tbsp of honey (or sugar)
- 1 tbsp of chinese cooking wine (or sherry)
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp of chilli flakes paste
- Cut the eggplant into 3 cm long sticks and add to a plate with salty water and put weight on it for 15 minutes
- Dry up with a paper towels the eggplants
- Mix the soy sauce, vinegar, honey, chili paste, and 1 tbsp of cornstarch
- Add 2 tbsp of cornstarch and 1 tbsp of peanut oil on the eggplants and mix until well coated
- In a wok, medium-high heat, cook the onion, ginger, garlic and eggplants for about 5 minutes until the eggplant is light brown on each sides
- Add the black bean paste (Doubanjiang) and mix
- Add, finally, the predone sauce from step 3 to the wok, cook for a minute
- Serve with a few finely chopped thai peppers and scallions
Serve with chopped sticks and a bowl of white rice. Enjoy!