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Sichuan Yuxiang Eggplant (Yuxiang Qiezi, 鱼香茄子)

Adapted from The Good Food of Szechwan: Down-to-Earth Chinese Cooking by Robert A. Delfs, published in Japan in 1974.
Author: Taylor Holliday | The Mala Market | Inspiration & Ingredients for Sichuan Cooking


  • 1 ⅓ to 1 ½ pounds Asian eggplant (about 3 large ones), partially peeled in "stripes" or unpeeled, quartered lengthwise and cut into 3-inch pieces; or one large globe eggplant cut in similar size
  • 1 ½ cups (or enough to deep-fry) peanut or canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese light soy sauce (Zhongba preferred)
  • 1 tablespoon Zhenjiang (Chinkiang) black vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground Sichuan pepper see note
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons fresh garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Pixian doubanjiang (chili bean paste)
  • 5 to 6 green onions, cut into 1-inch lengths
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch mixed with 4 teaspoons water
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil


  • If you are using Asian eggplant there is no need to salt the eggplant to reduce bitterness. If you are using globe eggplant, salt the pieces lightly and let them drain in a colander for 30 minutes before frying.
  • Heat a dry wok until quite hot, add oil and heat until a test bit of eggplant sizzles when it hits the oil (about 350°F). Add about a third of the eggplant pieces to the wok, but do not crowd it. Fry the pieces until lightly golden, in three batches. Remove and drain on paper towels.
  • Mix the soy sauce, Zhenjiang vinegar, sugar, Sichuan pepper and chicken broth together in a measuring cup as the seasoning liquid.
  • Pour off all but 3 tablespoons of the oil and reheat. Add the garlic and ginger and stir-fry until cooked but not browned, then add the chili bean paste and cook until fragrant. Add the seasoning liquid, give a stir, then add the green onions and cook briefly.
  • Add the eggplant back to the wok and gently mix and turn it in the sauce. Stir in the cornstarch mixture and cook until sauce thickens. Add sesame oil and remove to platter.


Ground Sichuan pepper: Sort Sichuan peppercorns and discard any black seeds or twigs. Toast in a dry skillet or toaster oven until pods start to smell very fragrant, but do not brown them. Let peppercorns cool, then grind in a spice grinder or in a mortar & pestle to your desired coarseness. Sift out any yellow husks that don't break down. Sichuan pepper powder will retain its potent flavor and numbing punch for only a few weeks.