Chinese eggplant recipe is a delicious Sichuan’s stir fry dish, a sweet and sour dish with a note of spice in it. This version is vegetarian, usually made with minced pork, although this time, replaced with some fresh spring onions to give it a fresh, and crunchy bite.
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 normally. Simply add a little cornstarch on them before cooking into the wok in order to make the skin slightly crunchier and the sauce thicker.
This meal comes just like tapas, although main course size, in the middle of the table to share 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.
Szechuan, Sichuan, Szechwan…. No idea which one to pick… I guess the Szechuan look the best… All meaning the cuisine of the Chinese region of Sichuan, South West from the country. A place well known for it’s spicy meals, it’s famous Szechuan pepper, and it’s fermented beans paste (Doubanjiang). All good stuff to discover!
Living in Spain, it’s not always easy to find a good chinese restaurant, but we finally found a gem, a Szechuan gem; DaZhong. This place is filled with asians, which is a good sign although not many spaniards go there… yet… Each time I go with my husband, we order many plates, our favorite; the spicy Szechuan eggplant with pork. A pleasure for the taste buds.
This dish isn’t exactly a traditional Szechuan dish…It’s a kind of Chinese spaghetti bolognese! It’s all the Szechuan region flavours and ingredients…but not a traditional dish from there, but a surely a delicious one. Walking around the asian market the other day, I saw those beautiful long asian eggplants, I add to do something with them. I’ve ended up creating this dish, which at first, was supposed to be that eggplant dish… usually with pork, well… it turned into beef. I’ve originally planned on making that eggplant dish but it turned out into that asian bolognese. A lucky mistake and most importantly a tasty one too!
So let’s do this Szechuan flavoured dish!
Szechuan Bolognese Noodles
Makes 4 portions
500g ground beef
300g egg noodles(or asian noodles you prefer)
2 long asian eggplants cut into thick pieces
1 small onion finely sliced
2 hot thai red pepper finely chopped
3 tbsp(2tbsp for the eggplants + 1 tbsp for the sauce)
2 tbsp of peanut oil
1 tbsp black bean paste(Doubanjiang)
2 garlic gloves finely chopped
3 cm 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 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp of chilli flakes paste
1 tsp sesame oil
Mix together the soy sauce, vinegar, honey, chili paste and 1 tbsp of cornstarch
The main meal
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 you eggplants for about 5 minutes until light brown on each sides
reserve the eggplants
Add a bit more peanut oil to the wok, the onion, minced garlic and ginger cook for a minute and bring the heat to high heat
Add salt, pepper to the beef meat and add to the wok, mix
When the meat is barely cooked, add the black bean paste (Doubanjiang) and mix until well incorporated
Add, finally, the predone sauce from step 1 to the wok, cook for a minute
Add the eggplants and hot thai peppers back to the wok
Cook your noodles in hot water, then drain and add the sesame oil, mix
Serve the meat on top of the noodles (or rice) or fry them inside the sauce for a few seconds
Serve with a few chopped thai pepper and scallions on top! Enjoy!