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Hi, I'm Jaden, a professional recipe developer, food columnist and food photographer specializing in fast, fresh and easy recipes for the home cook. Most of my recipes are modern Asian! About meFast, fresh & easy recipes for the home cook.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Chinese Eggplant with Spicy Garlic Sauce

Chinese Eggplant Stirfry with Spicy Garlic Sauce Recipe

I’m not very creative when it comes to cooking eggplant, usually I poke a few holes with a fork and roast until soft. The poking is important – it prevents the eggplant from exploding in the oven. Go ahead, ask me how I know!

We grow both Chinese and Japanese eggplant in the garden, both of which are less-bitter than the standard fat Globe variety. I’ve heard cooks needing to “salt” the eggplant and let it sit to release its bitter compounds. Not needed for the Asian variety!

Chinese Eggplant Stirfry with Spicy Garlic Sauce Recipe

The skin of Japanese and Chinese eggplant is much thinner as well.

While this is a Chinese stir-fry recipe, I used Japanese eggplant variety (my Chinese plant was towards the end of its life cycle and was only poppin’ out eggplant runts).

Other than just simple roasting, this is really the only other way I cook eggplant often – it’s a wonderful flavor party – chiles, garlic, soy sauce and a touch of black vinegar to balance the flavors out.

The translated Chinese name for this dish is “Fish-Fragrant Eggplant” which is so unfortunate. I’m sure it’s deterred many cooks from even trying the recipe. The reason it’s called this is because the dish originates from Sichuan province of China.

Sichuanese cooking has so many different descriptors for its 56 distinct cooking methods and 23 “official” Sichuanese flavoring combinations. The “Fish-Flavored” refers to the combination: salty+sweet+sour+spicy+garlic+ginger+green onion. Don’t worry – the sauce doesn’t taste fishy, nor the does the recipe contain any fish at all.  It’s a sauce that goes GREAT with many Sichuan fish dishes – thus the funny translated name.

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If you like Sichuanese cooking, pick up “Land of Plenty: Authentic Sichuan Recipes Personally Gathered in the Chinese Province of Sichuan” cookbook by Fushsia Dunlop. Fushsia is a celebrated cookbook author specializing in Chinese cookery. She’s lived in Sichuan and was the first foreigner to study full-time at the province’s famous cooking school.

I’ve been cooking this dish since my college days – my recipe doesn’t include Sichuanese Chili Bean Paste like Fushsia’s recipe – it’s not a common ingredient in standard supermarkets and I have trouble finding the bean paste even today outside of Asian supermarkets.

Chinese Eggplant Stirfry with Spicy Garlic Sauce Recipe

Here are a couple other tips:

1. If you can find Chinese bean paste – add 1 tablespoon to the stir-fry and cut the soy sauce to just 1 teaspoon.

2. The original Chinese recipe uses Chinese Black Vinegar – which is very similar to young balsamic vinegar. You can use either. The balsamic vinegar should be tart, not sweet – so don’t use the expensive super-aged super-thick sweet stuff (save that for your strawberries).

3. If you can’t find Chinese or Japanese eggplants, just use globe eggplant! Cut in similar sized strips. Baby globe eggplant is really good too. No need to salt. Just rinse, cut into thin wedges.

Chinese Eggplant with Spicy Garlic Sauce Recipe Video

Chinese Eggplant Stirfry with Spicy Garlic Sauce Recipe

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Print

Chinese Eggplant with Spicy Garlic Sauce

Servings: 4 Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 10 minutes
chinese eggplant stirfry with spicy garlic sauce recipe-0504

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons cooking oil, divided
3 small eggplants cut into long strips
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 red chile pepper, finely diced
1 tablespoon ginger, finely minced
1 stalk green onion, chopped
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon black vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar

Directions:

In a wok or saucepan over high heat, add 1 tablespoon of the cooking oil and swirl to coat wok. When wok is hot, add eggplant in a single layer. Cook 1 minute and flip over each piece so they cook evenly. Cook another 2-3 minutes, flipping occasionally.

Push eggplant aside in wok and add 1 tablespoon cooking oil. Add garlic, red chile peppers, ginger and green onion. Stir these aromatics until they become fragrant. Combine aromatics with eggplant and stir fry for one minute. Add soy sauce, black vinegar and sugar and stir to combine all. Serve immediately.



18 Responses to “Chinese Eggplant with Spicy Garlic Sauce”

  1. Ramya Raj — 2/17/14 @ 4:55 pm

    Looks absolutely delicious! Nothing beats the taste of freshly picked eggplant, savored as fish by vegetarians in India.

  2. Pingback: Chinese Eggplant with Spicy Garlic Sauce | I ♥ Delicious Food

  3. Looks like a simple, easy stir-fry that yields just enough yum. I do envy the clicks, it’s not often eggplant in cooked form can look this good.

  4. Pingback: Chinese Eggplant with Spicy Garlic Sauce | EvaGalloway.com

  5. Tom mclaughlin — 2/18/14 @ 12:59 am

    Yu Shang chetzu is one of my favorite Chinese dishes. I tried the recipe and found that the eggplants do not get soft as in a restaurant. So I asked the chef. He said he deep fries the eggplant.

  6. Caroline — 2/18/14 @ 1:36 am

    Hm I love this dish! Eggplants are one of my favorite vegetables! It’s interesting to read about the bitterness of globe eggplants..can they really be bitter in America? I buy regular globe eggplants all the time here in Switzerland and never had a single one that was bitter. Could it be because they let them grow to big in the States? (I was always amazed at the huge sizes of some veggies and fruits over there!). Anyway I need to make this dish soon again, it tastes as delicious as it looks!

  7. Beth B — 2/18/14 @ 8:52 pm

    I didn’t grow up eating eggplant (and lots of other delicious veggies) and am so happy to find this recipe. Sounds delicious. Also, the video is so very helpful. Lastly, I love that you include a picture in the printed recipe. It reminds me why I printed a recipe when I see the photo.

  8. Miche — 2/20/14 @ 2:48 pm

    I love cooking with Chinese and Japanese eggplants! Yuu xiang chie zi is one of my favorite dishes (although I’ve never made it at home. Now I have to.) Typically, I find they don’t need salting, but I had a bad experience once with some eggplants that turned out very bitter. Since then, I always salt, but now I’m wondering if I’m paranoid…

  9. This eggplant sounds fantastic – love the color and flavor the red pepper and green chili give it!

  10. Jeanne K — 2/21/14 @ 5:25 pm

    Ooh, one of my favorite dishes (and one my teenage daughter loves, too)! I usually use brown sugar and a splash of oyster sauce in my version (the remaining ingredients are the same, though). I can’t wait to try your recipe–it looks delicious.

  11. Jenny — 2/23/14 @ 10:22 pm

    This was delicious! Thank you for sharing!!

  12. Yum! Chinese eggplant is one of my favorite vegetables! I have most of these ingredients already on hand. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Annie Goh — 3/5/14 @ 8:09 pm

    I love this recipe. Simply delicious and supper easy to prepare.

  14. Kathleen McCalla — 3/20/14 @ 3:04 am

    looks amazing and will try…but I am interested in the garlic do-hickey!!! Love your site…btw…I am Jeremiah’s Aunt Kathie! Hope to meet ou one day.

  15. Denny — 3/24/14 @ 11:11 pm

    I enjoy your recipes Jaden, I have sent this one to several person. Your cooking is easy and fast it works well with my lifestyle. Continue to do a great job :)

  16. Vi — 3/26/14 @ 1:19 am

    I just made this and it turned out fantastic! Love your tasty, easy, fast recipes. So glad I found your blog!

  17. Jeanine — 4/7/14 @ 9:48 pm

    I did a random search on the internet for Chinese eggplant recipes, found yours, fixed it, and OOOOH! YUMMY! Thank you so much. I did have bean paste I had luckily bought on a whim the week before! Yay! Easy, delicious, and fast. I made mine over rice and it was a great simple dinner. Thank you again!

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