Jacob’s Spicy Sichuan Eggplant (鱼香茄子)

The idea for our Chinese cooking class sprung from the concept of a lunchtime field trip to the Super G. In menu brainstorming, Wendy declared Jacob “THE Sichuan food expert” when he recommended his favorite Spicy Eggplant Dish. We never ended up going to Super G but Jacob surprisingly recreated this authentic dish from ingredients from the Harris Teeter. He used black pepper instead of Sichuan peppercorn and regular seasoned rice vinegar.

After a couple of trips for forgotten ingredients (ginger) and equipment (I don’t own a wok), Jacob put together this tasty dish with out much effort at all. I had zero expectations on what this would taste like and was impressed with how tasty it was! Wendy was impressed by how authentic it was (although she says it is traditionally has meat in it). And our friend Aaron, who has a serious distaste for eggplant (and French wines), actually loved this dish too! So build up that courage you eggplant haters!

Spicy Sichuan Eggplant, or “Fish-Fragrant Eggplant” from Appetit for China

  • 1 1/2 pounds Asian eggplant
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons chili bean paste
  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons dark rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon yellow rice wine
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 2 teaspoons Sichuan peppercorn, or 1 teaspoon ground Sichuan pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch, dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
  • Scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish

Slice each eggplant in half lengthwise, then slice each length into quarters.

In a small bowl, mix together chicken stock, chili bean paste, soy sauce, rice vinegar, rice wine, and sugar. Set aside.

In a wok, heat oil until just smoking. Add eggplants and stir-fry until outsides become golden brown and insides begin to soften, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, and Sichuan peppercorns and stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour in stock-sauce mixture and mix well. Allow sauce to simmer for 2 minutes and eggplant to absorb sauce. Stir in cornstarch mixture to thicken sauce. Remove from heat, plate, and garnish with scallions.

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