Monday, February 22, 2010

Yu Xiang Qie Zi 魚香茄子 Fish Fragrant Eggplants


I have been craving for Sichuanese food ever since I read a review about my favourite Sichuan restaurant 2 weeks ago. With the very remote chance of ever visiting the restaurant anytime soon (since it has moved to the other side of the Yarra), I decided I'll need to take matters into my own hands. A cuisine that was quite foreign to me until I bought Fuchsia Dunlop's Sichuan Cookery, I can now claim to be quite an expert in Sichuan cooking having read the book from cover to cover countless times and consumed enough chillies and sichuan pepper in the past 8 years.
This is definitely a crowd pleaser; smokey, silky eggplant pieces swimming in a hot, sour and slightly sweet sauce and it is vegetarian.There is no fish in the dish despite it's name suggests otherwise, but simply being cooked in a sauce often associated with fish. A great family tip I like to share is - soak the eggplant pieces in water before frying, you will be amazed by how little oil is being absorbed by the eggplants.
Recipe adapted from Fuchsia Dunlop's Sichuan Cookery

serves 4 to 6 as part of a Chinese meal
you'll need;
1 kg of oriental eggplants
4 tbs of hot bean paste
3cm knob of ginger, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 bird chillies, roughly chopped (optional)
2/3 cup of chicken stock
1 tbs of light soy
1 to 2 tbs of chinkiang black vinegar
1.5 tbs of sugar
corn flour solution
2 spring onions, chopped
salt to taste
oil for deep frying

Cut eggplants lengthwise then across, slice each quarter into 2 or 3 pieces. Soak eggplants in water for 15 minutes and drain well.

Fry eggplants in batches til lightly golden, drain well. You'll be amazed by how little oil is absorbed by the eggplants if they are soaked in water first.

Fry hot bean paste with a little oil for 10 to 15 seconds then add in the chopped aromatics.

Add stock, sugar and soy and bring it to a simmer.

Add eggplants and cook for a few minutes, thicken the sauce with a little corn flour solution then add in the spring onions. Drizzle some vinegar over and check for seasonings.

Serve hot as part of a Sichuanese/Chinese meal with plenty of steamed rice.

47 comments:

  1. Oh you're making me want to try eggplants now! :) This looks delicious!

    ReplyDelete
  2. i love this dish spicy.. got kick!

    ReplyDelete
  3. oohh hungry tummy! u are killing me with ur dishes!!! that looks absolutely amazing! ^^

    ReplyDelete
  4. different recipe and looks great :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. new recipe to me.Im going to try it tomorrow itself

    ReplyDelete
  6. Fresh Local and Best ,
    Thank you very much!

    Sook,
    Thank you! you must!

    ARUNA ,
    Thank you! :)

    CUMI & CIKI ,
    Haha me to hence the extra chillies :)

    dave -nibbleanibble ,
    Very much so :)

    zurin,
    Oh sorry! :) You must come and visit then :)

    Neetz,
    Thank you!

    Shahana,
    Please do :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. I love 鱼香茄子 , I can eat this with many bowls of rice

    ReplyDelete
  8. We love this dish, lets make this when the eggplants are ready! cheers buddy!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi dear...hope u r doing fine :) I missed many of your posts, with try to catch up soon.
    Fish eggplant recipe looks absolutely delicious & interesting ! . I just love the colour of the gravy. Thanks a lot for a such a great recipe.

    ReplyDelete
  10. This dish looks like what my grandma used to cook :) Thanks for the tips about soaking the eggplants!
    The post about Victoria Street is great! I don't really like going there because of the drug problems there :(

    ReplyDelete
  11. You are such a cameleon in the kitchen! I hope this is a Sichuan week!
    Is the restaurant you mentioned Dainty?

    ReplyDelete
  12. Harriet from CarltonFebruary 22, 2010 at 4:47 PM

    I order this all the time but never looked as good as this! :)
    You surprised me again and again, thanks for the tip on soaking the eggplants!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Pearlyn,
    Haha I'll make sure I cook a lot of rice when I have u over!

    Hey buddy,
    Lets do that! :)

    kothiyavunu,
    Glad to see your return :) Thank you :)

    shanshan,
    I bet her version is really delicious!
    Me too but we just need to ignore them!

    M.fong
    hardly! It is indeed!

    Harriet,
    Oh thank you! That is a very good family tip so use it all the time ;)

    ReplyDelete
  14. What a beautiful dish! I hate to fry eggplants now with the helpful tip I'll be doing it including this stunning recipe!

    ReplyDelete
  15. It is a shame they choose to move south :(
    I think you eggplant dish is better then Dainty which is coated in flour!

    ReplyDelete
  16. That's such a beautiful dish of eggplant. I can cook this and enjoy it all alone cos my family doesn't really like eggplant :P

    ReplyDelete
  17. ahh eggplant. This looks soooo good. I had some grilled eggplant today and am actually having some more for dinner. LOve the crisp skin with the molten lava like centre with a spoonful for vinegar hehe

    ReplyDelete
  18. I really love this delicious dish to go with extra rice :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. Good to see some Sichuan recipes ! Now you've done yu xiang qiezi, when are you going to get round to dan dan noodles and ants climbing up a tree ? BTW - what's your fave Sichuan place in Melbourne called ?

    ReplyDelete
  20. 太棒了!來多一碗飯!:)

    ReplyDelete
  21. Reshmi ,
    Not overly!

    rosa,
    Thank you very much!

    Yasmin ,
    Thank you! Haha I know :(

    Mary,
    That is great! More for you then :)

    Adrian,
    Molten lava is a great way to describe it haha!

    Anncoo,
    I cooked a lot of rice for this :)

    Mr Noodles,
    Haha there are a few other dishes coming up so you'll have to wait for that :) It is called Dainty Sichuan :)

    大肥 ,
    謝謝!一碗夠嗎?

    ReplyDelete
  22. How do you make foods that I think I don't like look so delicious?!!

    ReplyDelete
  23. quelle jolie association moi qui aime beaucoup les aubergines je suis servie
    bonne journée

    ReplyDelete
  24. I never fry eggplant as I hate how much oil it soaks up (and I quite like dry fried or baked eggplant) so I'm glad to read your soaking tip! Will have to give it a try :)

    ReplyDelete
  25. Wow you have gone Sichuan! Awsome photos and thanks for the soaking tip!!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Hey,
    First time here. Beautiful and tempting dish. Great presentation. Following you.

    Cool Lassie
    http://pangravykadaicurry.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  27. Suresh, this eggplant dish looks really smoky, spicy and delicious.

    I am going to remember about soaking the eggplants in water before frying them in oil. That's really good afvice.

    ReplyDelete
  28. J'aime beaucoup les aubergines et ta recette leur donne beaucoup de goût.
    Je note ta version qui me plait beaucoup.
    See soon.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I love this dish! So good with rice!

    ReplyDelete
  30. This is a good dish, I like eggplants very much!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Are you doing a Sichuan week darling? If so I'll like to request for my favourite dish! Thanks for the soaking tip, we are going to save so much oil :)
    Sophia xxx

    ReplyDelete
  32. You are a great cook!
    Those are to die for!
    Loving your meals/blog!
    Betty xx

    ReplyDelete
  33. Eternally Distracted ,
    Haha you tell me lol

    Fimère ,
    Merci!

    conor,
    Haha you are welcome!

    LMH,
    Yeah for a change! you are welcome!

    Cool Lassi(e) ,
    Oh thank you very much!

    Velva ,
    Thank you very much! :)
    It is such an easy step to save lots of oil hehe

    Saveurs et Gourmandises,
    Merci!

    pigpigscorner ,
    Absolutely :)

    Pham,
    Thank you!

    Sophia darling,
    Not really a Sichuan week, what is that dish going to be? :) xxx

    Betty,
    Thank you very much :) xxx

    ReplyDelete
  34. I love, love, love eggplants. Definitely could eat a lot of this with extra rice;)

    ReplyDelete
  35. Another beautiful dish, I must get that cookbook too!

    ReplyDelete
  36. shaz,
    Haha absolutely!!

    Tricia,
    Thank you! You'll get so much out of it!

    ReplyDelete
  37. Such a flavorful Eggplant dish,love it :D

    ReplyDelete
  38. I love this! I always order it when I head to a sichuan restaurant. YUmmmO!

    ReplyDelete
  39. mmmm..looks bomb. i'll have to try the soaking technique next time.

    ReplyDelete
  40. If you soak the eggplant in salted water for about an hour or so, it holds up wonderfully and absorbs the flavors of the sauce without turning into mush.

    ReplyDelete
  41. I made this dish too. But I drop deep frying step in order to avoid too much oil used.

    ReplyDelete

Please leave a note. I love to know what you think!

press me

3 hungry tummies

My Photo
melbourne, victoria, Australia

linkwithin