Sichuan Spicy Eggplant and Salted Fish
Sichuan Spicy Eggplant and Salted Fish is a type of stir fry from the Sichuanese cuisine where eggplants are stir fried with a sauce made from fatty pork mince, salted fish and Sichuan peppercorns. Eggplants usually are delicate in flavour but adding Sichuan peppercorns gives it a unique numbing effect which many may find addictive add to that some fatty pork and salty fish, the blend of flavours becomes the perfect harmony.
This dish is one of Sichuan’s popular dishes, also known as ‘fish-fragrant eggplant’ (鱼香茄子) the original versions never had used fish on its list of ingredient even fish sauce. The name most probably came from the fragrant sauce called Yuxiang used in the dish where it is also popularly used on fish dishes in Sichuan. Yuxiang also does not contain any fish but instead this seasoning mixture is a combination of garlic, scallions, ginger, sugar, salt, doubanjiang, soy sauce, and chili peppers.
I am not sure if you like spicy dishes but certainly this is up there on the top of my list of spicy food, what’s not to love? Its spicy but not very hot, its oily and definitely very savoury, that blend is a perfect pair to any freshly cooked jasmine rice. Today we will be going out of the norm and will add some fish to this dish for some added flavour by using some Chinese salted fish.
- 600 grams Asian long eggplants, sliced into strips
- 200 g fatty minced pork
- ¼ cup finely diced salt-cured fish
- 2 tsp Doubanjiang (chili bean paste),
- 1 tsp ground Sichuan peppercorns,
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 2 tbsp black rice vinegar,
- 2 tsp Shaoxing wine,
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1½ tbsp cornstarch
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp minced ginger
- peanut oil
- ground white pepper
- In a large bowl add water, 1 tbsp of salt and the sliced eggplants, keep the eggplants submerged in water and leave it for 10 minutes then drain and pat dry.
- On a dry bowl combine 1 tbsp cornstarch and eggplants, cover with a lid and shake to coat eggplant with the cornstarch. Set it aside.
- In a small bowl combine together light soy sauce, black rice vinegar, Shaoxing wine, pinch of salt, sugar and the remaining cornstarch, mix it well and set it aside.
- In a wok add and heat oil in very high heat, add the eggplants and stir fry until soft and golden brown, this will take around 5 minutes. Remove from wok then set it aside.
- Using the same wok add oil then sauté garlic, ginger and salt-cured fish, sauté until fragrant.
- Add minced pork and continue to stir fry for a minute.
- Add Doubanjiang and continue to stir fry for a minute.
- Add the ground Sichuan peppercorns, eggplants and the prepared sauce, stir and mix to combine, let it boil then put heat to low. Simmer for 2 minutes. Season with salt and ground white pepper. Remove from wok then serve.