This post comes to us courtesy of cookbook author and television personality Ching He Huang.
Spicy Sichuan Fish-Fragrant Eggplant
This is a famous Sichuan dish called “Yu-siang cie tze,” which means “fish-fragrant eggplant.” The dish does not contain any fish but the “fish-fragrant” term describes the intense savory depth of flavor that you would get from a good fish stock.
Peanut or vegetable oil for deep-frying
1 large eggplant, sliced lengthways into finger-size batons no longer than 1 1/2 inches (4cm)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1-inch (2.5cm) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely sliced
1 medium red chili, with seeds, sliced into rings
2 Tbs. chili bean paste
3/4 cup (200ml) hot vegetable stock
1 Tbs. light soy sauce
1 Tbs. Chinkiang black rice vinegar
2 pinches of light brown sugar
1 Tbs. cornstarch blended with 2 Tbs. cold water
1 scallion, finely chopped
Heat a wok over high heat and fill one-third full with peanut oil. Heat the oil to 350°F (180°C) or until a cube of bread turns golden brown in 15 seconds and floats to the surface.
Pat the eggplant dry. Using tongs, lower each piece into the oil and deep-fry until slightly golden, the skin is slightly wrinkled and the flesh is soft but still retains its shape, about 3 minutes. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels.
Pour the oil from the wok through a sieve into a heatproof container. Return 1 Tbs. of the oil to the wok and heat over high heat until smoking. Add the garlic, ginger and chili and stir-fry quickly for a few seconds. Add the chili bean paste and return the eggplant to the wok. Add the hot stock and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the eggplant is soft and creamy, about 3 minutes.
Season with the light soy sauce, vinegar and brown sugar. Add the cornstarch mixture and stir to thicken the sauce. Sprinkle with the finely chopped scallion. Serves 2 to 4.
To find out more about Ching, her great tasting recipes and her books, visit www.chinghehuang.com.
To learn more about her US television shows, visit the Cooking Channel.
About the author: The face of Chinese cooking on British TV, Ching-He Huang’s dynamic approach to modern Chinese food led to a television presence in Great Britain before coming to America with her popular shows Chinese Food Made Easy and Easy Chinese: San Francisco on the Cooking Channel. Ching is also the author of four cookbooks, the bestselling Ching’s Chinese Food in Minutes, Chinese Food Made Easy and China Modern. Ching’s latest book, Ching’s Fast Food, is published by Harper Collins and is available on her website. http://www.chinghehuang.com