Sichuan-Style Fish-Fragrant Eggplant

Thoughts on making Sichuan-Style Fish-Fragrant Eggplant from J. Kenji Lopez-Alt’s _The Wok_ cookbook. The best eggplant I’ve ever had! 5 stars! ★★★★★

A bowl of eggplant planks in sauce topped with cilantro and green onions.

Yesterday I made the Sichuan-Style Fish-Fragrant Eggplant from J. Kenji Lopez-Alt’s The Wok cookbook.

No unusual ingredients given what’s been used in the cookbook so far. I was happy to have another use for the Pickled Chiles, though. And I love doubanjiang, so I was pleased to see that in the ingredients list.

Kenji notes that eggplant can be a difficult ingredient and, for this dish, calls for brining, frying, and then saucing the eggplant. The brining keeps the eggplant from absorbing all the oil used in the frying, and it really seemed to work.

The sauce was Chinkiang vinegar, some of the pickling liquid from the pickled chiles, light and dark soy sauces, sugar, and corn starch. I’m beginning to think the Chinkiang vinegar is just a touch too strong for me. While it wasn’t overpowering in this dish, it was the primary flavor in the Sichuan-Style Hot and Sour Stir-Fried Shredded Potatoes dish that I didn’t like. I might start reducing its volume from what’s called for moving forward.

As far as the final dish itself: it was delicious! I don’t think I’ve had better eggplant! My wife and I both enjoyed it. I was worried it might be on the spicy side, but it had a good, enjoyable amount of heat.

I am cooking my way through J. Kenji Lopez-Alt’s The Wok cookbook. Read more about it.