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Yuxiang Eggplant (Sichuan Eggplant in Garlic Sauce)

Yú Xiāng Eggplant Sichuan-style Yuxiang eggplant cooks in a sticky-sweet hot garlic sauce resulting in a well-balanced savory dish that’s the perfect combination of sweet and spicy.

WHAT IS YUXIANG EGGPLANT?

Yú Xiāng refers to the sauce the eggplant cooks within. It translates to ‘fish fragrant,’ but the dish has nothing to do with fish and contains no seafood. You will often see this dish go by the name eggplants in garlic sauce or spicy garlic eggplant in Sichuan restaurants. Instead, its name comes from the seasonings used in traditional Sichuanese cookery that are ‘cooked in the style of fish.’ Yú Xiāng sauce is one of the prominent flavors of Sichuan cuisine, and its sweet and tangy profile is used to flavor eggplant, fish, and pork to make popular Sichuan meals.

WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE

  • Yuxiang Garlic Sauce: Our sauce is made up of doubanjiang (broad bean paste), brown sugar, soy sauce, water, and Shaoxing wine.
  • Eggplant: Chinese eggplant is long and thin with vibrant purple skin and white flesh; they are often sweeter than other varieties of eggplant, and they work best in this recipe. Select eggplants that are firm and free of blemishes.
  • Cornstarch: Cornstarch creates the structure for the eggplant to cook.
  • Garlic: I suggest using five cloves, but don’t let my recipe tell you how much garlic to use- measure with your heart.
  • Ginger: Fresh ginger lends added flavor to the eggplant.
  • Arbol Chili: These bright red chilies bring subtle heat and provide an extra pop of color.

HOW TO COOK YUXIANG EGGPLANT

Cut the eggplant into 1-inch pieces and place them into a mixing bowl. Toss with salt and allow them to sit for 10 minutes.

salted eggplant

Remove the excess moisture from the eggplant using a towel.

Return the eggplant to the bowl and add 1½ teaspoons of cornstarch; stir until evenly distributed and set it aside.

eggplant coated in cornstarch

Warm the oil in a wok until smoking. Add the reserved eggplant. Cook until they are tender and golden brown. Remove the cooked eggplants using tongs and set them aside.

Heat the pan over medium-high heat. Then, reduce the heat to medium and add the bean paste; cook until aromatic for 30 seconds. Stir in the garlic, ginger, and dried red chilies and cook for another minute.

Stir in the water, soy, sauce, and sugar. Simmer for 5 minutes, then add the remaining ½ teaspoon of cornstarch.

Return the eggplant to the pan. Allow the mixture to simmer. Cook until the sauce thickens and the eggplant softens for about 10 minutes.

Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with scallions to serve.

COOKING TIPS

  • Season your wok or stainless steel pan before cooking the eggplant. Do this by heating the pan with a bit of oil over medium-high heat to create a beautiful non-stick seal for the eggplant to cook.
  •  Use a Chinese cooking method called ‘Liu’ which refers to deep frying before preparing a sauce for the ingredient to cook within. You want the oil to be hot enough for the eggplant to fry and steam and become soggy.

SEARCHING FOR MORE LIKE THIS? 

If you love this recipe, try one of our other Chinese-inspired meals!  

SERVING SUGGESTIONS

  • Steamed White Rice, Brown Rice, and Cauliflower Rice
  • Crispy Sesame Tofu
  • Crispy Pork
  • Quinoa

WHAT TO DO WITH THE LEFTOVERS 

  • FRIDGE – Store leftovers in an airtight container; they will keep for 2-3 days.
  • FREEZER – Let the eggplant cool and add it to a freezer-safe bag or container. Yuxiang eggplant freezes for up to 2 months. When you’re ready to eat, defrost it in the fridge overnight.
  • REHEAT – Warm leftovers on the stovetop and enjoy!

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What does Yuxiang eggplant taste like?

Yú Xiāng sauce is a traditional Sichuan sauce that embodies the full range of sweet and tangy with the right amount of heat to round out the bold flavors.

YOU SHOULD ALSO TRY:

Yuxiang eggplant in a small serving bowl, and garnished with scallions.

Yuxiang Eggplant (Sichuan Eggplant in Garlic Sauce)

Tressa Jamil
Sichuan-style Yuxiang eggplant cooks in a sticky-sweet hot garlic sauce resulting in a well-balanced savory dish that's the perfect combination of sweet and spicy.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Chinese, Sichuan
Servings 4 people
Calories 173 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 3-4 Chinese eggplant, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1-2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • teaspoons cornstarch, divided
  • ¼ cup avocado oil
  • 1 teaspoon doubanjiang (bean paste)
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • ¼ cup Arbol chilies, dried, chopped
  • teaspoon red sichuan peppercorns, slightly crushed
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
  • 4 scallions, greens thinly sliced

Instructions
 

  • Cut the eggplant into 1-inch pieces and place them into a mixing bowl. Toss with salt and allow them to sit for 10 minutes.
  • Remove the excess moisture from the eggplant using a towel.
  • Return the eggplant to the bowl and add 1½ teaspoons of cornstarch; stir until evenly distributed and set it aside.
  • Warm the oil in a wok until smoking. Add the reserved eggplant. Cook until they are tender and golden brown. Remove the cooked eggplants using tongs and set them aside.
  • Heat the pan over medium-high heat. Then, reduce the heat to medium and add the bean paste; cook until aromatic for 30 seconds. Stir in the garlic, ginger, and dried red chilies and cook for another minute.
  • Stir in the water, soy, sauce, and sugar. Simmer for 5 minutes, then add the remaining ½ teaspoon of cornstarch.
  • Return the eggplant to the pan. Allow the mixture to simmer. Cook until the sauce thickens and the eggplant softens for about 10 minutes.
  • Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with scallions to serve.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 ServingCalories: 173kcalCarbohydrates: 17gProtein: 4gFat: 10gSodium: 1459mgFiber: 4gSugar: 7g
Keyword sichuan eggplant
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Recipe Rating




Shariq

Sunday 16th of October 2022

Very nice takeout restaurant-style eggplant but without all the unhealthy sugar and oils. I really enjoyed preparing and eating this dish with spicy Chinese chicken