Chinese Eggplant Stir fry (Sichuan Style) recipe is a sweet and sour side dish with a note of heat to it. A quick and simple way to enjoy these firmer and sweeter Chinese eggplants.
Chinese Eggplant Stir Fry (Sichuan Style) recipe is a delicious dish from the Chinese region of Szechuan. Made with these long Chinese eggplants you’ll find in any Asian market. They stir fry them usually with a bit of minced pork in this unctuous sauce. This vegetarian version is so easy to make, and done in no time, it goes perfectly with rice, or noodles.
Szechuan or Sichuan?
Both are right! It all refers to this Northern Chinese region, although Eastern Chinese would say Szechuan and Western ones Sichuan, both are correct.
The Chinese eggplant
The long asian eggplants have a firmer texture and a less biter flavour in comparison with the western world’s “big eggplant”. On top of that, they don’t lose their shape when cooking, resulting into a firmer, nicer bite. Simply add a little cornstarch on them before cooking into the wok in order to make the skin slightly crunchier and the sauce thicker.
How to serve?
This meal comes as a side dish, although usually served in the middle of the table with other dishes. The secret in this recipe lays in the ingredients, which are all Sichuan’s, of course. You’ll probably need to stop at the Asian market to find them all. Especially important is the Sichuan’s fermented bean paste (Doubanjiang) which is the highlight of this eggplant dish.
I know… it’s not everyone who’s got these ingredients in the pantry. Bare with me here, of course you can use other types of eggplants for this recipe, the texture won’t be the same but you’ll get a fun dish anyway. Maybe aim at a smaller variety of eggplant to prevent a water mess in your wok.
As for the Doubanjiang black bean paste, you can substitute it by gochujang or Thai chilli sauce sambal oelek. It’s the spice factor in the dish, so even a tad of chilli in oil would do at this point.
The last tricky ingredient would be the Shaoxing wine, which is in most Asian market but again you could substitude it by some dry sherry, or Japanese mirin sauce.
No Wok to Stir fry? No Problem!
Got no wok? Simply use your biggest pan! Make sure to make the pan hot before cooking! You want to stir fry, go strong on the heat!
So let’s stir fry that long purple veggie!
Chinese Eggplant Stir fry (Sichuan/Szechuan Style)
- wok or big pan
- 4 Chinese eggplants
- 1 onion (cut finely)
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 tbsp peanut oil (or any neutral oil)
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp Doubanjiang, black bean paste (or gochujang or Thai chilli sauce sambal oelek)
- 1 tsp (3 cm) ginger (grated)
- 2 tbsp dark Chinese vinegar (or rice vinegar)
- 2 tbsp honey (or maple syrup)
- 1 tbsp corn starch
- 1 tbsp Shaoxing (Chinese cooking wine) (or sherry or mirin)
- 2 tsp soy sauce (or tamari)
- 1 tsp chilli flakes in oil
- 2 scallions (finely chopped (*optional))
- Cut the eggplants into 3 cm long sticks.
- Mix the soy sauce, vinegar, honey, chilli paste, and cornstarch to make the sauce.
- Add 2 tbsp of cornstarch and mix until well coated.
- In a wok, high heat, cook the onion, ginger, garlic and eggplants in the peanut oil for about 5 minutes until the eggplant is light brown on each sides.
- Add the black bean paste (Doubanjiang) and mix.
- Add, the sauce to the wok, cook for 1-2 minutes more until sauce thickens.