Eggplants with Garlic Sauce, Yu Xiang Qie Zi, is a classic Sichuan dish. Normally when you cook eggplants, they will turn brown, and become soggy and super oily. Today I’d like to show you some tricks so those won’t happen. It’s going to be the most delicious Eggplants with Garlic Sauce!
Eggplants with Garlic Sauce Recipe
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
For the eggplants:
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
4 large Chinese eggplants, quartered the eggplants lengthwise, 2-inch long
1 tablespoon cornstarch
4 cups avocado oil
For the stir-fry:
2 tablespoons avocado oil
6 ounces ground pork
1 tablespoon Sichuan Pixian broad bean paste (duo ban jiang)
1/2 teaspoon ginger, minced
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salted chopped chilies (duo jiao), could replace it with pao jiao, or other red chili peppers
1 tablespoon scallions, minced
For the sauce:
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon Chinkiang vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
2/3 cup water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 tablespoon water
Eggplants with Garlic Sauce Instructions
- To prepare the eggplants, in a large bowl of water, add the salt and rice vinegar. Whisk.
- Cut eggplants into quarters lengthwise, 2-inch long.
- Transfer the eggplants into the water mixture, and soak them for 20 minutes. Place a heavy plate on top, so all the eggplants are submerged. (There are two benefits of doing this. First, it will prevent the eggplants from turning dark brown while cooking. Second, the eggplant won’t absorb oil like a sponge, and become soggy and super oily.)
- Discard the water, rinse, and squeeze out the additional moisture from the eggplants. Sprinkle with the cornstarch and combine. Set aside.
- To make the sauce, in a bowl, mix in the soy sauce, dark soy sauce, Chinkiang vinegar, sugar, and water. Whisk and set aside.
- To fry the eggplants, in a wok over high heat, place in the avocado oil, or replace with other high smoking point oil. Heat it up to 350 degrees F or 177 degrees C. (I’m frying the eggplants today because that’s how it’s normally made. But you could also pan-fry or steam them instead.) Carefully place in the eggplants and fry for 1 minute. Remove and drain.
- To stir-fry, in a wok over high heat, place in the avocado oil, or other high smoking point oil, and ground pork. Stir-fry until cooked, 2 minutes. Add the Sichuan Pixian broad bean paste, ginger, garlic, and salted chopped chili peppers. (Sichuan people normally use pao jiao, but it’s not available in my local supermarkets. You could also replace it with other red chili peppers.) Stir-fry until aromatic, 1 minute.
- Pour in the sauce and stir-fry. Return the eggplants and stir-fry together. Add the cornstarch slurry to thicken the sauce (1 tablespoon of cornstarch and 3 tablespoons of water). Mix well. Lastly, sprinkle the scallions on top.
- Serve in a clay pot or a plate.
Notes on the used oil:
- Used oil can be reused in the future if it was not cloudy and dark. Let the oil cool to room temperature, and pour it into a glass jar through a coffee filter or cheesecloth. Then store it in a cool and dry place.
- If the used oil couldn’t be reusable, throw it away properly. Let it cool to room temperature, and pour it into a non-breakable container with a lid. Then tightly seal the container and toss it into the trash. Never pour the used oil down the drain, as it can clog your sink.