Chinese fish-fragrant aubergines

Chinese fish-fragrant aubergines

Try this delicious vegan dish believed to have been invented on the banks of the Yangtze river in Sichuan. Stir-fry the aubergine until golden brown and buttery in a sweet and sour sauce
  • Preparation:
  • Cooking:
  • Total:
  • Serves: 4 persons



  1. Step 1

    To make the sauce, whisk together all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl until well combined. Cut the aubergines lengthways into sections, then slice into 1.5cm wedges. Put  1½ tbsp sea salt in a large bowl with 720ml water and whisk until the salt dissolves. Submerge the aubergines and soak for 15 mins – salting helps to relax the flesh, reduce bitterness and prevent it from soaking up excessive oil. Drain and pat the wedges dry.
  2. Step 2

    Heat 360ml oil in a wok over a medium-high heat. Coat the aubergines lightly in the potato starch or cornflour. When the oil reaches 190C (when a cube of bread browns in 30 seconds, it’s ready), fry the aubergines in batches, flipping and turning occasionally, for 3-4 mins or until the edges are slightly golden and the skin is glossy purple and wrinkled. Transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper. Pour the oil into a heatproof container and reserve for another day, leaving about 1 tbsp oil in the wok.
  3. Step 3

    Re-heat the wok over a medium heat. Lower the heat and stir-fry the chilli bean or pickled chilli paste for 30 seconds until its red oil is released. Add the garlic, ginger and spring onion whites, and stir-fry for another 30 seconds until just aromatic. Push the aromatics up one side of the wok and pour the sauce mixture into the middle.
  4. Step 4

    Gently fold the fried aubergine into the sauce and simmer for 2 mins until the aubergine absorbs the flavours and the liquid thickens. Transfer to a plate, garnish with the spring onion greens and serve immediately.