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Delicious! We followed this recipe but had to replace the chilli paste for chilli flakes and the soy sauce for coconut aminos because that’s what we had at home.
Just curious if you tried regular eggplant.
Delicious! This is the second time we made this with eggplants, scallions, garlic and hot lemon drop peppers, all from our garden, we added the lemon drop because we love heat, and we used fresh noodles instead of rice. Your recipe is a keeper! Thank you so much.
I’m so glad you like it Maureen!
I made this dish as a contribution to a Chinese New Years banquet – I managed to find all the ingredients and made it exactly as per the recipe. Everybody loved it, and the one ethnic Chinese guy amongst us (most of us are white Australians) said it was the most authentic tasting dish of the night!
Will definitely reprise :-)
That’s great Mark, thanks for sharing!
I have tried SOOOOO many seczhuan eggplant recipes and have found this recipe to be far superior to all others. It has such depth of flavor that is both intense and subtle; and it is super simple in preparation. Thank you.
Really enjoyed making and eating this today with my family. Thanks so much for posting it. I like the way you included the mise en place section first, and then your timings were very accurate. Nice job! Came out great. I wonder if the people who complained about the peppers were using REAL sichuan pepper corns, or just ordinary pepper? Also, the numbing quality of the sichuan pepper is reduced by cooking as well as the interaction with chilli bean paste and vinegar, so if the recipe is done correctly it’s not very noticeable at all.
I love this recipe, but it needs fewer peppercorns. I would say 2/3rd fewer. I would also love a version based on weight, not volume.
My husband and I thought this was a delicious dish, a nice foray for us into a new cuisine. Because it was my first time with sichuan peppercorns, I heeded the advice of others on this board and both heated/crushed them and halved the amount. I also removed the black seeds before crushing. The result was perfect – the tingles were noticeable but not overwhelming. We also added coarsely sliced sweet onion with the eggplant, which I thought was an excellent addition. Garrett’s mention of bok choy would also be yummy.
Thanks, Elise and Garrett!
I made this dish without the peppercorns, I couldn’t find them at my grocery store. It still tasted pretty good. My eggplant dish lost the vibrant purple colour but it turned out delicious, so who cares! I will definitely make this again!
I can’t tell whether I don’t like sichuan peppercorns or if it’s this recipe I don’t like. I love ginger, but I thought this recipe called for too much. I also didn’t feel like there was enough acid, so I added some lime juice. It still didn’t taste balanced, so I tossed in some toasted peanuts for crunch. I’m sure my version was less authentic, but it was much more palatable.
This recipe is very delicious, even without the sichuan peppercorns (which no doubt would make it even more delicious). I could not find chili bean paste, so I substituted a mixture of red chili paste and white miso. I was also not sure if I should leave the skin on the eggplant, so I peeled it – I believe it would have been better to leave it on. I will certainly use this recipe again!
I guess people’s ma la eating habits vary!
Personally, I do not eat them, and know plenty of Szechuan Chinese also pick them out of their dishes. When I cook with them, I remove them before serving. They are a delicious flavor, but they’re too much for me intact!
Yu xiang qie zi is one of my favorites. I like ordering it at restaurants – each restaurant does it so differently. Some are more like sweet and sour, others more umami savory. I like it cooked with a little Chinese anchovies, or fermented shrimp paste, but have never gotten the recipe quite where I want it to be. Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to trying it out. Egg plants are conveniently on sale at the market. ;)
Also – thanks for the explanation on the name “yu xiang.”
Is it ok if I use normal vegetable oil or maybe light olive oil for the recipe instead of peanut oil?
Of course! I’ve also added bok choi and onions to this dish. Feel free to customize it to what’s in your kitchen. ~Garrett
I’ve found the trick to keeping the beautiful purple color while getting nice softness is to instead cook it as a braise. The ingredients are the same (maybe a bit extra water or stock). But instead of stir-frying and then adding sauce components, you steam the chopped eggplant batons for a few minutes, cook the sauce in your wok, and then add the steamed eggplant to the sauce, cooking to preferred tenderness. It’s one extra step but I find the eggplant is more evenly tender, stays purple, and you get more delicious sauce.
And if you like the heat and flavor of Sichuan peppercorn but don’t like the getting it in crunchy bursts, you can first heat up 1-2 tbsp of the peppercorns in a pan for 30 seconds and then grind it. Add towards the last few seconds of cooking.
Some great ideas! Thanks, Patrick! ~Garrett
Gotta say — made this tonight and was really disappointed. While I do like the numbing sensation that comes with Sichuan peppercorns, the two teaspoons produced so much numbing that my husband and I couldn’t actually taste any of the other flavors. Maybe my peppercorns were extra fresh, but in the future I’d do no more than 1 tsp of the pepper, and maybe even less. I know that this ‘ma la’ numbing is a key part of authentic sichuan food, but I guess the question is just how much — are you still supposed to be able to taste the other ingredients?
Emily, some people are rather sensitive to Sichuan peppercorns. It takes some time and a few dishes to find out how much of them you can really take. I can eat plenty of them in a dish, my partner, however, prefers just a pinch or it overwhelms him. I would encourage you to probably reduce the amount of Sichuan peppercorns by half in this recipe if you try it again and see how that works for you. ~Garrett
Very nice! I’m ethnically chinese from the states and I can’t read chinese so I’ve been looking for this eggplant recipe for ages!
I would encourage you to pick up any book by Eileen Yin-Fei Lo, Fuchsia Dunlop, or Grace Young. Their Chinese cookbooks are easy and authentic. ~Garrett
Why is this tagged vegetarian when it contains chicken stock? Sure, it could be modified to be vegetarian, but the same could be said for almost any recipe.
We made a note of it, but, yes, a quick and easy substitution makes this vegetarian. Plus, unlike many other recipes people may try to modify to make vegetarian, this is an easy substitution. ~Garrett
I am actually posting this from China, in the Hubei region. I’m spending the summer here, and enjoying plenty of dishes with peppercorns!
In my experience, you are not supposed to actually eat the peppercorns. They impart an amazing flavor to the dish, but eating them really does something to your palate.
Actually, you do eat them. I learned most of my Chinese dishes from friends who were from the Sichuan region of China. =) ~Garrett
@ Barbara – Unfortunately, the gochu jang won’t work for this dish. Gochu jang has a rather sweet taste, and it’s commonly used in Korean dishes. However, this dish requires sharp ‘heat’ instead of mild sweet-taste spiciness. Most of Chinese grocery stores carry chili-bean paste, especially ‘Pixian Chili-bean Paste’ which is the authetic brand-name sauce broadly used in Sichuan cuisine dishes. Someone mentioned Lee Kum Kee spicy garlic sauce in another post – ummm…it’s not the same. I wouldn’t use that one. Hope my answer would help. =)