Firstly, there is no fish in this fish-fragrant eggplant dish. The ‘fish-fragrance’ in this dish is more of a reference to a flavor that is often associated with fish in Sichuan style cooking. Eggplants are sponges and easily soak up the flavor that they are cooked in. They are also ‘meaty’ and hence do very well in this spicy bean sauce flavoring that is often used in fish, like in another Sichuan dish – shui zhu yu 水煮鱼 [Sichuan Boiled Fish.]
Usually, the eggplant in this dish is deep fried, but I can’t bring myself to deep fry anything in my kitchen, so I decided to use my saute method instead. Instead of minced meat, I used slices of meat instead, since I had some really nice slices and I didn’t want to waste them by mincing everything up. All in all, it turned out being a fantastic dish with rice, and the next thing I’ll want to make is to make yu xiang rou si (Fish-Fragrant Shredded Pork.)
- 2 Chinese eggplants, cut into long strips (about 2 inches long)
- 5 slices ginger
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 oz sliced pork
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- scallions for garnish
Ingredients for Sauce
- 1/4 cup chicken stock or water
- 2 tablespoons chili bean paste
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar (or substitute with aged balsamic vinegar if you can’t find this)
- 1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine (or substitute with dry sherry)
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- [optional] 1/2 teaspoon Sichuan pepper
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water
To prepare the sauce, add all the ingredients for the sauce to a bowl and mix together.
Heat the pan over medium-high heat, and add oil. Fry the garlic and ginger until fragrant, and add the sliced pork to the pan.
Fry until the pork is cooked, then remove the pork from the pan.
Using the same pan, add the eggplants and the sauce to the pan. Cover and let the contents cook for about 2 minutes.
After 2 minutes, uncover the pan, and cook until some of the liquid evaporates, and the eggplants soften.
Add the cooked pork back to the pan, and saute to mix.
Garnish with chopped scallions and serve.