Today we are making Yu Xiang Qie Zi 鱼香茄子(Fish Fragrant Eggplant). It may not sound that appetizing because of the translation but it is actually a chili garlic eggplant dish that is bursting with umami flavor and tastes incredibly delicious. The sauce is so savory and well-balanced; it tastes slightly sweet, sour, and spicy. We call it the rice killer recipe because it makes the rice super tasty, and you end up eating more rice than usual.
Fish Fragrant Eggplant
- 1.5 lb eggplant
- Vinegar to spray the eggplant
- 2-3 tbsp cornstarch to coat the eggplant
- Enough oil to fry the eggplant
- 0.5 lb ground pork
- 3 pieces scallion diced and reserve the green part for garnish
- 2 tsp finely minced ginger
- 6-8 cloves garlic finely minced
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 4 tbsp diced pickled chili
- 2.5 tbsp Pi Xian Dou Ban Jiang
- 1.5 tbsp 25g of soy sauce
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1.5 tbsp Chinese black vinegar
- 1 tbsp sugar
- Blend 4 tbsp of duo Jiao and 2 tbsp of Pi Xian Dou Ban Jiang (郫县豆瓣酱Fermented Board Bean Paste with Chili Oil) into a puree. Let it go through a sieve to get rid of the stubborn seeds.
- Set the chili paste aside and we will quickly make a sauce by simply combining 1.5 tbsp of soy sauce, 1.5 tbsp of Chinese black vinegar, 1 tbsp of fish sauce, 1 tbsp of sugar. Stir well and set it aside.
- Cut the eggplant into 2.5 inches long strips. The cut surface will quickly turn into a brown color when exposed to the air. To stop that, we will spray some white vinegar on the surface. Toss it around to coat every piece evenly. This will slow down the oxidization. Get a sieve and dust 2 tbsp of cornstarch on the eggplant's surface, which will create a starchy layer and help the eggplant catch more deliciousness.
- Quickly mince six cloves of garlic and 2 tsp of ginger. Dice 3 pieces of scallion. Separate the white part and the green part. We will reserve the green part as a garnish.
- There are 2 ways to cook eggplant.
- The first one is the steam method, which is much healthier. You just place the eggplant on a plate. Stack them up in a way that allows air circulation. Put the eggplant on a steamer with some boiling water under the rack. Let it steam for about 12 minutes.
- The second method is the deep-frying method. You just fry the eggplants in 2-3 batches. in 360 F oil for a few minutes until they are bendable. Take them out and drain the excess oil.
- In the video, I used the deep frying method because it will retain the purple color on the skin. That makes a great dish presentation and picture for the thumbnail. It is important to attract you guys to click into the video. However, I understand that not everybody is willing to use so much oil just to fry the eggplant. So, feel free to use the steam method. It won’t affect the taste.
- Take out most of the oil and leave 2-3 tbsp of oil in the wok. Heat it until it starts smoking. We will use that to cook the ground pork. Try to break the pork into small pieces. We don’t want any meat patties, we want it to be nice and loose so those little pork bits can attach to the eggplant later.
- Once the pork has changed color, you can turn the heat to low, then push everything to the side. There should be some oil pulling out from the pork; we will use that to cook the minced garlic, ginger, and diced scallion. Stir until fragrant, then add in the pickled chili paste. You have to keep the heat at low to saute the chili paste because the Sichuan Dou Ban Jiang that we used is very easy to burn.
- When you see the oil became a red-orange color, you can pour in the sauce along with the cornstarch water(3/4 cup of water mixed with 1 tsp of cornstarch). Stir and bring everything to a slight simmer. In a couple of minutes, it should turn into a thick consistency. Then, introduce the eggplant back to the wok. Stir on low heat for a couple of minutes to combine the flavor. Give it a final taste to see if you need to adjust the flavor, and you are done.
- Sprinkle the reserved scallion, and we are ready to enjoy this mouth-watering dish.
Homemade Chinese Pickle Recipe – https://youtu.be/lPFWvgr-R_w