Sichuan-style Aubergine

Braise aubergine to absorb the flavours of the rich sauce for a traditional Chinese home cooked meal.

Recipe kindly contributed by Jeremy Pang from his book Chinese Unchopped.

Sichuan-style Aubergine
PREP TIME 30 mins COOK TIME 20 mins MAKES 2

Ingredients

  • 2 Chinese aubergines

  • 2–3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 garlic cloves

  • 1 fresh bird’s-eye chilli

  • a small handful of coriander

The Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon hoisin or yellow bean sauce
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon chilli bean paste

  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 100ml water
  • dash of dark soy sauce

Preparation method

  1. Leaving the skin on, cut the aubergines in half lengthways, then slice into 2cm thick long batons
or 5cm chunks. Place them in a mixing bowl and immediately pour over 1–2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Mix together well.
  2. Heat a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the aubergine pieces and fry, turning, until golden brown and charred (but not burnt) on both sides. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  3. Finely chop the garlic, chilli and coriander. Mix all the sauce ingredients together in a bowl.
  4. Build your wok clock: place the garlic at 12 o’clock, then arrange the aubergine pieces, chilli, sauce bowl and coriander clockwise around the plate.
  5. Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a wok over a medium heat. Add the garlic and aubergine to the wok, then add the chilli and immediately pour over the sauce mixture. Bring to a vigorous boil, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 12–15 minutes over a low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has caramelised and thickened slightly.
  6. Spoon onto a serving plate, and scatter over the coriander to finish. Serve.
  7. Swapsie: If you cannot find the bright-purple Chinese aubergines, try using eight to ten of the small Indian aubergines instead. As they are much smaller in size, just slice them in half lengthways and they are ready to use.