- Szechuan Eggplant
- Prep Time: 20
- Cook Time: 25
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Servings: 4
- Category: Main, vegan
- Cuisine: Chinese
- 750 g Japanese Eggplant (about 4 x 10 inch eggplants)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- bowl of water
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2–4 tablespoons peanut oil ( or wok oil)
- 4 cloves garlic, rough chopped
- 2 teaspoons ginger, finely minced
- 5–10 dried red chilies
- 1 teaspoon Szechuan peppercorns or regular peppercorns
- 1/4 cup soy sauce or low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon garlic chili paste or 1 teaspoon chili flakes
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Chinese cooking wine or mirin
- 3 tablespoons sugar, brown sugar, coconut sugar, maple syrup or alternative
- 1/2 teaspoon five spice
Cut the eggplant into half-centimeter thick crescents or bite-sized pieces. Transfer to a large bowl of water and add 2 teaspoons of salt. Cover with a plate and let rest for 20-30 minutes.
Meanwhile, finely chop the garlic and ginger and make the Sichuan sauce.
How to Make Sichuan Sauce: Roast the Sichuan peppercorns in a dry skillet over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Crushing. Put them in a bowl with the remaining ingredients (soy sauce, chili paste, sesame oil, rice vinegar, Chinese cooking wine, sugar and five spices) and mix together. Keep it near the stove.
Drain, rinse and pat dry the eggplants with a cloth. Mix with the cornstarch.
Heat 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil 2 times in a very large skillet over medium heat. Add half of the eggplants and divide them. You want both sides to be a nice golden brown and the inside to be baked. So take your time here and don’t rush. Brown one side and flip with the pliers. It will take about 10 minutes for each batch. (When I’m in a hurry, I sometimes use 2 mussels.) Set the eggplant aside.
Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan and over medium heat add the garlic and ginger, stirring for 2 minutes, add the dried peppers and stir for 1 minute. Pour the Sichuan sauce into the pan and bring to a boil for 20 seconds. Return the eggplants to the pan and mix gently for about 1 minute. If it looks dry, add a tablespoon of water to dissolve it. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with optional scallions and peanuts.
Be patient browning each side of the eggplant. This will take a little time but it is worth the wait.
I’ve found that the flat surface of a skillet, verses using a wok is much easier to use to get those sides golden.
Feel free to sub cashews for the peanuts, of leave off completely.