This is our version of a Sichuan classic dish “Fish Fragrant Aubergines”, which actually has little to do with fish despite the name. They call this flavour "fish fragrant" because it contains many of the seasonings used in Sichuan fish cookery. Here, aubergine is the star of the dish, using Sichuan flavours to augment the spicy sauce. We love how the soft melting aubergines are bathed in this rich, spicy and slightly sweet sauce.
Fragrant Spicy Aubergines
Serves 4 as part of a large meal
Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 25 minutes
- 1 medium aubergine, sliced into approx 4cm x 2cm lengths
- Sunflower oil for frying
- 1-2 tbsp chilli bean paste
- 2 spring onions, sliced thinly, white and green parts separated
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
- 2 cm piece fresh ginger, chopped finely
- 1 tbsp light soya sauce
- 1 tsp Chinkiang vinegar
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp cornflour or potato starch
- 90ml (6 tbsp) cold water
- Green part of the sliced spring onion
- 1 small red chilli, sliced finely
- fresh coriander leaves
- Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan or wok till hot.
- Fry the aubergines in 2 or 3 batches till golden on both sides.
- Drain the aubergines on kitchen towel.
- Mix the sauce ingredients with the cold water in a small bowl ensuring the cornflour is completely dissolved.
- Heat 2 tablespoons oil in the frying pan on a medium heat, and add the chilli bean paste, stirring until the oil turns red and separates from the paste.
- Add the white part of the sliced spring onions, the garlic, and ginger, and stir fry for a minute or two, taking care not to allow the garlic to burn.
- Add the sauce mixture and lower the heat a little to let it all simmer for a few minutes to thicken. Return the aubergine pieces to the pan and gently cook in the sauce for 2 minutes till soft.
- Spoon out onto a serving dish and sprinkle with the reserved green sliced spring onions, coriander leaves and chilli slices.
- Serve with plain steamed Jasmine rice.
Find more of Rachel's vegetarian Sichuan recipes in the November 2017 issue of Vegetarian Living Magazine.
For a hands on introduction to Chinese cookery, check out Lydia's upcoming Chinese New Year Feast.
Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.
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