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Yuxiang Qiezi - Fish Fragrant Eggplant

Yuxiang Qiezi - Fish Fragrant Eggplant

A classic example of the complex flavour balancing that goes into Sichuan food. Salty, sweet, sour, and hot cover the soft, silken eggplant for a delectable experience- especially over rice. The sauce, which contains no fish, hearkens to an era when home cooks elevated vegetables in the absence of readily available meat. 


  • 750 g Chinese eggplant, halved and cut into 2 inch pieces
  • Oil for frying
  • 1½ Tbsp Doubanjiang
  • 1 Tbsp chopped ginger
  • 1 Tbsp chopped garlic
  • 150 ml stock or water
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tsp black vinegar
  • 1 tsp corn starch mixed into 1 tsp water
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • sesame oil for garnish


  1. 1

    Pour enough oil to cover the eggplant into a wok and put over high heat. When the oil is hot and shimmering, fry the eggplant pieces in batches until they begin to brown, about 3-4 minutes.

  2. 2

    Remove, place on a paper towel to soak up excess oil and set aside.

  3. 3

    Pour out most of the oil, leaving only a couple of tablespoons for the sauce. Add the doubanjiang and fry for about 30 seconds. Add the garlic and ginger, stir well, and fry for another minute or so.

  4. 4

    Add the stock, sugar, soy sauce and vinegar and stir until the sauce is uniform. Simmer for a minute or two to allow the flavour to meld.

  5. 5

    Add the eggplant, then the corn starch and stir gently. Add the green onions and stir one last time.

  6. 6

    Remove from heat and splash on a small spoonful of sesame oil.

    * Recipe adapted from Fuschia Dunlop’s Sichuan Cuisine 

Black Vinegar

Fragrant, delicate, with a long-lasting but inoffensive acidity, black vinegar is made from double-fermented black glutinous rice. The older Shanxi black vinegar, Lao Chen Cu, is sealed and aged for a deep, caramel-like flavour. The newer Zhenjiang vinegar is sweeter and more forgiving. Use Zhenjiang vinegar for your Sichuan recipes unless aged vinegar is specifically called for. Never use balsamic vinegar.