Yu Xiang Qie Zi (Sichuanese Fried Eggplant)
Danny Bowien of Mission Chinese Food restaurant in New York shared his eggplant frying technique for this classic Sichuan dish.
Yield: serves 2-4
- 3 cups canola oil
- 4 small Japanese eggplants, sliced in half lengthwise, and cut in half crosswise
- 10 suan miao (Chinese chives, blossoms discarded) or scallions, thinly sliced, plus more for garnish
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (2") piece ginger, peeled and minced
- 2 tbsp. douban jiang (Chinese red chile bean paste)
- 2 tbsp. light soy sauce
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 2 tsp. Chinkiang black vinegar, for garnish
- 1 tsp. sesame oil, for garnish
- Steamed rice, for serving
- Heat oil in a 14" wok to 350°. Using a knife, score the eggplant flesh or skin in a crosshatch pattern, about ⅙" deep. Submerge eggplant in ice water for 5 minutes. Drain eggplant and dry with paper towels; add to oil. Cook until slightly tender, 2–3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl; cover with boiling water and let sit for 3 minutes. Drain and dry; set aside.
- Discard all but ¼ cup oil in the wok; return to medium-high heat. Add chives, garlic, and ginger; cook until soft, 3–5 minutes. Add chile bean paste, soy, and sugar; bring to a simmer. Add eggplant and cook for 2 minutes more. Transfer to a platter; garnish with chives, vinegar, and sesame oil. Serve with rice.