Yu-xiang qiu-zi – This is one the best Chinese dishes ever. Period. From the Sichuan province in western China, its name translates literally to “fish fragrant eggplant” although there is no fish in it at all. The name “Yu-xiang” comes from the same way fish is cooked in Sichuan with the distinct combination of hot, sour, and sweet flavors. Somewhat hot, this dish tastes best when the garlic is overpowering and the eggplants are at their freshest.
Yu-xiang Qie-zi – Eggplant with Yu-xiang Sauce
- Wok or large skillet
- small saucepan
- 4 long Japanese or Asian eggplants (or 1 large eggplant)
- ¼ cup Kosher salt
- 2 small Red chilies, sliced thin
- 3 tbsp White vinegar
- 2 tbsp Shaoxing rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp Sugar
- 1 tbsp Soy sauce
- 1 tbsp Chinkiang vinegar
- 1 tsp Cornstarch mixed with 2 tbsp water to make a slurry
- 4 tbsp Peanut oil
- 5 cloves Garlic, minced
- 4 tsp Fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- 4 stalk Scallion, whites thinly sliced, green parts cut into ½-inch pieces
- 2 tbsp Doubanjiang (broad bean hot chili paste)
- 1 tsp Toasted sesame oil
- Prepare – Quarter eggplants lengthwise. Cut crosswise into 3 to 4-inch "fingers". Place eggplants skin-side up and ¼ cup kosher salt in a large bowl. Cover with water and soak for 15 minutes. Drain and gently pat dry.Heat white vinegar in a small saucepan until simmering. Add red chilies and let sit for 5 minutes off the heat. Add wine, sugar, soy sauce, and Chinkiang vinegar. Stir in cornstarch slurry until dissolved completely.
- Cook – Heat oil in a wok over high heat until smoking. Reduce heat to medium and add eggplant. Stir-fry until softened and well browned on all sides. Push eggplant up sides of wok and turn heat to high. Add garlic, ginger and scallions. Stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add doubanjiang and stir-fry another 30 seconds. Stir sauce in saucepan to dislodge any sugar or cornstarch and pour into wok. Stir-fry until the sauce has thickened, about 1 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and drizzle with sesame oil. Serve hot with rice.