Eggplant with Garlic Sauce (鱼香茄子) Semi-Authentic
Eggplant with Garlic Sauce or “fish fragrant eggplant” (yuxiang qiezi) is a well known Sichuan dish that has spread worldwide. However many variations arises as it reaches different cultures.
In most cases, restaurant make this dish by deep frying the eggplants as this is the traditional way of making it. By deep frying the eggplant, it makes the eggplant soft and tasty but it also make it very oily as eggplant soaks up oil like sponge, thus unhealthy. Therefore, a lot of people making this dish at home would prefer to stir-fry or steam the eggplant until soft instead of frying. Here is a tip for making the eggplant absorb less oil, soak the eggplant in salted water for about 10-15 mins. this make the cellular wall to collapse thus absorbing less oil.
The authentic way of making this dish involves the use of pickled chili pepper as one of the main ingredient. The pickled chili pepper gives this dish more depth and umami flavor as well as extra heat. The pickled chili pepper are finely chopped into small pieces and then fried along side minced ginger, garlic and green onion roots.
As you maybe aware, pickling chili peppers takes more than a week to make thus it is a bit of hassle, that is why different variations arises to make this dish more accessible to the general public. For example, in Japan they make this dish without using pickled chili peppers but they add in Tian Men Jiang (sweet bean paste) to balance the flavor and to adjust it to their taste. In Japan, this dish is less spicy and has a more balance flavor of sweet and spicy.
For my version, I tried to use the same ingredients as in the authentic version minus of course the pickled chili pepper.
Ingredients: Serving Size (2-3)
Eggplants: 450 g or 16 oz
Ground Pork: 100 g or 3.5 oz
Ginger: 1 1/2 tbsp (mince)
Garlic: 1 1/2 tbsp (mince)
Green Onion: 4 sprigs (white part) and for garnishing (green parts)
PiXian Dou Ban Jiang: 1 tbsp
Whole Dried Chilies: 5
Veg. Oil: 2 tbsp
Sugar: 2 tsp
Soy Sauce: 2 tbsp
Shao Xing Rice Wine: 1 tbsp
Unsalted Chicken Stock/Water: 1 cup or 237 mL
Sesame Oil: 1/2 tsp
Black Vinegar: 2 tbsp
Potato Starch: 1 tsp
Water: 1 tsp
Water: 6 cup or 1.4 L
Salt: 2 tbsp
Oil: For frying
Where to buy:
PiXian DouBanJIang: http://goo.gl/REShGM
ChinKiang Vinegar: http://goo.gl/1GH01H
Dried Whole Chilies: http://goo.gl/JV7zL0