Chinese eggplant with garlic sauce, or “fish fragrant eggplant” (yuxiang qiezi) is a familiar dish in many American Chinese restaurants and buffets these days, but it’s also a dish with many authentic variations in China, and we’re long overdue on sharing our version of this much-loved classic.

In most cases, Chinese restaurants make this dish by deep frying the eggplant, resulting in very tasty, soft eggplant, but also a very oily dish. You may be familiar with the fact that eggplant soaks up oil like a sponge (eggplant parm, anyone?). There’s no doubt that deep frying makes the dish tasty, but there are definitely healthier ways to go about making this dish at home that don’t sacrifice any of the restaurant’s flavor.

Chinese Eggplant with Garlic Sauce by thewoksoflife.com

The secret? Scorching the eggplant in your wok to soften it…and including crispy, chewy, caramelized ginger, garlic, and bits of ground pork. If you don’t eat pork, you can substitute ground chicken or turkey, or leave the meat out altogether.

Chinese Eggplant with Garlic Sauce by thewoksoflife.com

I made this for dinner last week, and it was almost immediately declared one of the best versions we’d ever had. That crispy pork is like magic.

Chinese Eggplant with Garlic Sauce by thewoksoflife.com

Here’s what you’ll need:

For the sauce mixture:

  • 1 tablespoon spicy bean paste (douban la jiang)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon shaoxing wine
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce

For the rest of the dish:

  • 2-3 medium Chinese eggplants (about 6 cups)
  • 2 scallions, cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 4 oz. ground pork
  • 2 thin slices ginger, julienned
  • 10 dried red chilies
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon shaoxing wine

Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Wash the eggplants, cut the ends off and slice them into equal sized pieces. After slicing, separate the green and white portions of the scallions into roughly two piles.

Over very high heat, heat a tablespoon of oil in your wok. Add half of the eggplant and let it sear until brown on all sides.

Chinese Eggplant with Garlic Sauce by thewoksoflife.com

You can lower the heat if it looks like they’re starting to burn. You want to cook the eggplant for about 5 minutes until they start to get soft and have a nice sear. Take this first batch of eggplant out of the pan, heat a second tablespoon of oil, and do the same with your second batch. Set all the cooked eggplant aside on a plate.

Chinese Eggplant with Garlic Sauce by thewoksoflife.com

Set the heat to medium high and add the last tablespoon of oil to the wok, along with the ground pork. After the pork has browned, add the ginger and cook for a minute to let it crystalize with the pork.

Chinese Eggplant with Garlic Sauce by thewoksoflife.com

Stir in the whole red chili peppers and the minced garlic, and after a minute, turn the heat back up to high.

Chinese Eggplant with Garlic Sauce by thewoksoflife.com

Add the eggplant back in, along with the stir-fry sauce, the white parts of the scallions, and the shaoxing wine. Stir-fry everything together for another 2 minutes, making sure everything is well-combined.

Chinese Eggplant with Garlic Sauce by thewoksoflife.com

Toss in the rest of the scallions and stir-fry for another 20 seconds.

Chinese Eggplant with Garlic Sauce by thewoksoflife.com

Chinese Eggplant with Garlic Sauce by thewoksoflife.com

Serve immediately with rice!

Chinese Eggplant with Garlic Sauce by thewoksoflife.com

Chinese Eggplant with Garlic Sauce by thewoksoflife.com

Chinese Eggplant with Garlic Sauce by thewoksoflife.com

Chinese Eggplant with Garlic Sauce by thewoksoflife.com

 

Chinese Eggplant with Garlic Sauce

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Chinese Eggplant with Garlic Sauce

Ingredients

For the sauce mixture:
1 tablespoon spicy bean paste (douban la jiang)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon shaoxing wine
1 teaspoon fish sauce
For the rest of the dish:
2-3 medium Chinese eggplants (about 6 cups)
2 scallions, cut into 2-inch lengths
3 tablespoons oil
4 oz. ground pork (ground chicken or ground turkey can also be substituted)
2 thin slices ginger, julienned
10 dried red chilies
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon shaoxing wine

Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Wash the eggplants, cut the ends off and slice them into equal sized pieces. After slicing, separate the green and white portions of the scallions into roughly two piles.

Over very high heat, heat a tablespoon of oil in your wok. Add half of the eggplant and let it sear until brown on all sides. You can lower the heat if it looks like they're starting to burn. You want to cook the eggplant for about 5 minutes until they start to get soft and have a nice sear. Take this first batch of eggplant out of the pan, heat a second tablespoon of oil, and do the same with your second batch. Set all the cooked eggplant aside on a plate.

Set the heat to medium high and add the last tablespoon of oil to the wok, along with the ground pork. After the pork has browned, add the ginger and cook for a minute to let it crystalize with the pork. Stir in the whole red chili peppers and the minced garlic, and after a minute, turn the heat back up to high. Add the eggplant back in, along with the stir-fry sauce, the white parts of the scallions, and the shaoxing wine. Stir-fry everything together for another 2 minutes, making sure everything is well-combined.

Toss in the rest of the scallions and stir-fry for another 20 seconds. Plate and serve immediately with white rice.

http://thewoksoflife.com/2014/08/chinese-eggplant-garlic-sauce/

 

 

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