Yuxiang Eggplant

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This eggplant dish, originally from Sichuan, is hands down the most popular and delicious eggplant dish in Chinese cuisine. Yuxiang is a famous seasoning mixture in Sichuan cuisine - typically savoury, sweet, sour and slightly spicy. It literally means 'fish fragrance', allegedly because the eggplant was originally cooked in chilli pickled with fish. Despite its name, nowadays the recipe has nothing to do with fish.

The key to this recipe is to use a lot of garlic and pickled chilli and stir fry quickly with the sauce, which brings a very strong, aromatic flavour to the eggplant.

Preparation time: 15 minutesYuxiang Eggplant on a plate

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Serves 2 people


  • 560 ml (19 fl oz/ 2¼ cups) canola (rapeseed) oil
  • 750 g (1 lb 11 oz) eggplant (aubergine), sliced 4 cm (1½ in) long and 1 cm (½ in) wide
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese cooking wine
  • ½ teaspoon potato starch or cornflour(cornstarch)
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 20 g (¾ oz) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 50 g (1¾ oz) pickled Sichuan chilli or piri piri, finely chopped
  • 1 spring onion (scallion), sliced


  1. Heat 480 ml (16 fl oz) of the oil in a saucepan over a medium-high heat. To check the oil is hot enough for deep-frying, hold a wooden chopstick in the oil. If it is immediately surrounded by tiny bubbles, the oil is ready to use.
  2. Deep-fry the eggplant until it is soft and a bit golden on the outside, then remove. Deep-fry the eggplant for the second time, but only for 30 seconds (this can be done immediately after removing the eggplant from the first deep-fry). Deep-frying it twice helps to reduce the oil absorbed by the eggplant.
  3. In a bowl, mix the soy sauce, Chinese black vinegar, sugar, cooking wine and starch.
  4. Heat the wok over a medium heat and, once hot, add the remaining oil.
  5. Add the garlic and ginger, stir for 30 seconds, then add the pickled chill and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the eggplant and continue stirring for another minute.
  6. Add the sauce mixture to the wok and keep stirring until most of the sauce has been absorbed by the eggplant.
  7. Garnish with the spring onion.

Recipe by Yang&Kathi from their cookbook Vegan Chinese Food. 

If you are interested in the plant-based diet and would like to explore more Asian vegan recipes, you can check out their channel @littlericenoodle on Instagram or visit their website: littlericenoodle.com

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