Sichuan Eggplant

This is a classic Sichuan dish that is spicy, sour, salty, and sweet all at the same time. You can find Sichuan peppercorns at a Chinese grocery store on the cheap, or you can order them online. The Sichuan peppercorns give this dish its characteristic tingly sensation and spicy flavor.

Tip: To grind the Sichuan peppercorns: Toast peppercorns in a dry heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until very fragrant and smoking, 3 to 5 minutes (be careful not to let them burn). Grind, while still hot, to a powder in an electric coffee/spice grinder (or a blender/food processor). If you want, you can sift through a fine sieve, discarding hulls.

 

Time: 30 minutes

Serves 4

Adapted from Appetite for China

  • 1 1/2 pounds Asian eggplant
  • 2 tablespoons chicken stock, or substitute water
  • 2 tablespoons chili bean paste
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar, or substitute good-quality balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground Sichuan peppercorns
  • Scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish

Toasted and ground Sichuan peppercorns

1. Slice each eggplant in half lengthwise, then slice each length into quarters. Cut each quarter in somewhat substantial, but still bite-sized, cubes (about 1 1/4-inch to 1 1/2-inch cubes).

2. Prepare the sauce: In a small bowl, mix together the chicken stock, chili bean paste, soy sauce, rice vinegar, rice wine, sugar, and cornstarch. Set aside.

3. Heat the oil in a wok over high heat until a bead of water sizzles and evaporates on contact. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil and swirl the pan to coat the base and sides. Add the eggplants and stir-fry until outsides become golden brown and insides begin to soften, about 2 to 3 minutes.

4. Add the garlic, ginger, and Sichuan peppercorn and stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

 

5. Pour in the sauce mixture and mix well. Simmer for 3 to 4 minutes to allow the eggplant to fully cook and the sauce to thicken enough to coat the back of a spoon.

6. Remove from the heat, plate, and sprinkle scallions on top.

Happy Eating!

 

Love,

Yang

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4 Comments to “Sichuan Eggplant”

  1. You must be psychic! I seriously just searched your site for a Sichuan style eggplant recipe two days ago. Thank you!! :D

  2. This is one of my all time favourite dishes. Thank you for posting such a complete recipe with the right ingredients! Other recipes on the net skip over the chili bean paste and Sichuan peppercorns, which I think are absolutely key. I crave this dish all the time and have made it at home 3 times so far from your recipe, thank you thank you thank you!

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