鱼香茄子

This weekend, for the first time since returning, I tested my memory on a classic Sichuan dish, 鱼香茄子 – Yuxiang Qiezi (Fish-fragrant Eggplant). Now, a hundred little noodle shops will have a hundred different preparations, but I wanted to share this seriously fantastic vegetarian interpretation that struck me so honestly of China I was stunned back into standing in wonderful-smelling, oil-smoked kitchens with the loud PAH of vegetables slapping into woks crashing like waves against my ears.

Ingredients
3 Asian Eggplants, quartered twice lengthwise and sliced into thirds
Peanut Oil, about 3-fingers-worth in your wok
Stock of some sort (I used organic mushroom, but regular veggie or College Inn chicken broth would work just as well), perhaps 8-12 oz
Hoisin Sauce, three generous tablespoonfulls
Soy Sauce, a generous and prolonged swirl
Rice Vinegar, a fast splash, perhaps 4-6 oz
Sesame Oil, a careful 2 drops
Brown Sugar, a loose handful
Chili Seeds, shaken out of perhaps 13 dried chilies; I suppose a handful of red pepper flakes would suffice here
Garlic, an entire medium head, crushed
Ginger, a root the size of your hand, finely minced
Scallions, 3 or 4 bunches, thickly chopped

Preparation
1. Heat oil on high in wok until a chili seed dropped therein begins to sizzle
2. Toss a handful of eggplant strips into the hot oil (stay well back)
3. As the eggplant browns, remove fried eggplants from hot oil with a slotted spoon and deposit them on a paper-towel lined plate to drain slightly before adding more raw eggplants to oil.
4. Once all the eggplants are fried and set to drain, pour oil into a heat-safe container for disposal (there will be a bit of oil left in the wok. no worries)
5. Turn heat to medium high, add remainder of ingredients in one fell swoop and stir to mix
6. Immediately add eggplants and stir gently to coat. Cook until it starts to bubble, stirring occasionally with a wok spatula.
7. Serve hot over rice. (Reheats well, but disintegrates.)

Enjoy!

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Karen
    Nov 13, 2009 @ 10:50:16

    This looks amazing!
    How does it work with the fat eggplants you find here in the Macomb HyVee? We had some wonderful Asian eggplants earlier in the year and I do like them much better.

    Reply

    • dragonstar728
      Nov 13, 2009 @ 11:09:45

      I’m sure it would work fine, though the Asian ones have a nicer flavour (which is probably about 90% aesthetics anyway!). *hugs*

      Reply

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