Friday, 13 April 2012

Friday's Share- Supper Club

Since arriving in Sichaun, we've been really enjoying getting stuck into learning Sichuan cookery. Our teacher isn't a local but the rather brilliant English food writer Fuchsia Dunlop who studied at the Sichuan Institute of Higher Cuisine.  We've had an afternoon making dumplings with Chinese friends and with further lessons promised will learn local recipes, but as a place to start (and to have someone to explain things that would be too obvious to mention for a Chinese person) her book Sichuan Cookery is brilliant.

Well, it's Friday and what's more fun to share than food? I really love cooking for friends and do it whenever I can. For today, we'll have to make do with the recipe and my encouragement to give it a go. It can be tough at times being a vegetarian in China but with this dish, we're on safe ground. Not only that, it's absolutely delicious, the flavours are just dazzling.
Fish-Fragrant Aubergine - Fuchsia Dunlop

2-3 medium sized aubergines (eggplants), cut into quarters or eighths, then chopped into chunks
1-2 tbsp groundnut or vegetable oil
1 1/2 tbsp chilli bean paste
3 tsp finely chopped ginger
3 tsp finely chopped garlic
150ml vegetable stock
1 1/2 tsp white sugar
1/2 tsp light soy sauce
1 tsp potato flour cornflour mixed with 1tbsp water
1 1/2 tsp Chinkiang or Chinese black vinegar
4 spring onions, green parts only, sliced into fine rings
1 tsp sesame oil

1. Deep fry or shallow fry your aubergine pieces until slightly golden outside and soft and buttery within. Remove and drain.
2. Drain off the deep-frying oil and then return the wok to a high-flame with 2-3 tablespoons of oil. Add the chilli bean paste and cook for 20-30 seconds until the oil is red and fragrant. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for another 20-30 seconds ensuring it does not burn.
3. Add stock, sugar and soy and stir to mix well before adding aubergine. Allow to simmer for 2-3 minutes in order to reduce the sauce a little and allow the eggplant to absorb the flavour.
4. Drizzle over the potato flour mix and stir gently to incorporate.
5. Stir in vinegar and spring onion then remove from heat.
6. Drizzle over sesame oil and serve.

Eat with a rice and few other Chinese dishes, we usually go for a simple green veg as this dish will surely be the star of the show!

What would you like to share this Friday? Any ideas for brilliant vegetarian meals with only asian ingredients, a wok and a rice cooker much appreciated! Have a wonderful weekend.


  1. How uncanny that you mention this dish! C got his Chinese cooking mojo back the other week and he made two great dishes, Kung Pao chicken and this aubergine dish. He got so many exotic ingredients (including Sichuan peppers) and really enjoyed himself in the kitchen. I got to reap the benefits, with no effort on my part, woo!

  2. Fantastic! I recommend ordering Mapo Dofu next time, uses many of the same ingredients he'll have helpfully already bought! Sounds great.

  3. Thanks for the recipe. I am always interested in how locals spice their food.

    1. My pleasure. A popular spice here is Sichuan pepper, sometimes called prickly ash. It numbs your mouth and is really quite alarming when you're not expecting it!