Yu Xiang Qie Zi (Spicy Sichuan Eggplant Stir-fry)

Yu Xiang Qie Zi (Spicy Sichuan Eggplant Stir-fry)

Hello Everyone! Back in May of last year, a foodie friend of mine and I started hosting open food collaborations on Instagram under the Foodies United PH group that we co-admin. Most of the food that I featured for the collaborations didn’t end up here on my blog; the reason being was that it didn’t fit with the theme. This is also part of the reason why I decided not to go with a theme for my blog for this year.

International Hot & Spicy Food Day Collaboration by Foodies United PH

This post was supposed to go up on Sunday, but I was having issues with WordPress at that time. Anyway, on Sunday 16 January 2022, we hosted a collaboration for International Hot & Spicy Food Day. I love spicy food, and I would say that my spice tolerance is above average. When I was brainstorming a dish for this collaboration, I had a faint memory of an eggplant dish that I had way back when I was still studying in Australia. I remember it being a spicy dish that I absolutely loved, but unfortunately could not remember what the dish was. So after some research, I think the closest to my vivid memory of the dish is Yu Xiang Qie Zi, or in English, Sichuan Eggplant, which is the dish that I am featuring to celebrate International Hot & Spicy Food Day.

Before we begin, here’s a fun fact: Yu Xiang literally translates to ‘fish-fragrant’ while Qie Zi means ‘eggplant’. Despite the literal translation, this dish does not actually have any fish in it. The term is actually a style of cooking for a particular Sichuan fish dish. Since this eggplant dish uses the same aromatics, sauce, and style of cooking, it was named Yu Xiang, preceding the Qie Zi.

Yu Xiang Qie Zi (Spicy Sichuan Eggplant Stir-fry)

Yu Xiang Qie Zi is essentially a Sichuan chilli garlic eggplant stir-fry, and can be cooked with or with minced pork. The addition of minced pork is to add more flavour to the dish, but you can completely leave this out to make this a vegetarian/vegan friendly dish. I wanted to add mince though for texture to contrast the eggplants. So I decided to try out Veega’s Meat-free Giniling (in English, mince) in place for the minced pork. I’ve been seeing this product all over social media for the past year and have been wanting to try it out, but to my surprise though, their meat-free giniling actually contains egg whites. I’m not sure if their other products also include egg (or derivatives) in them.

I checked to see if they are marketing their brand as vegan, which thankfully they aren’t, but did state they are a vegetarian line, which they should actually properly label as ovo-vegetarian (a person who does not eat meat or dairy products but does eat eggs and egg-derived ingredients) in my opinion. I did also see that they’ve started a vegan line with no egg or dairy in them – so this is something I look forward to trying as well!

Yu Xiang Qie Zi is a quick and easy dish that you can be put together with minimal effort in under 30 minutes, which makes it perfect for a weeknight lunch or dinner.

Yu Xiang Qie Zi (Spicy Sichuan Eggplant Stir-fry) Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 20 MINS | SERVES 5-6

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 long eggplants, halved and then cut into long strips
  • 1 tsp salt, for soaking
  • Cornstarch, for cooking
  • Oil, for frying
  • 200g Veega meat-free giniling (mince)
  • 1 tbsp doubanjiang (chilli bean paste)
  • 3 red chillies, minced
  • 2 dried red chillies, chopped
  • 3 tsp grated ginger
  • Spring onion (white part), chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely minced

For the sauce

  • 1/3 cup water (or veggie stock)
  • 4 tbsp white granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp black vinegar
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp sichuan peppercorns, toasted and ground
  • 1/2 tsp salt

To garnish

  • Red chillies, chopped
  • Spring onion (green part), chopped

METHOD

  1. Sauce: Add all the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl and mix to combine. Set aside.
  2. Eggplant: Soak the eggplant slices in salted water for about 15 minutes. Once done, drain and pat dry.
  3. Evenly coat the individual eggplant slices in cornstarch and shallow fry in a preheated pan over high heat, until browned. Remove and transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel to soak up any excess grease. Work in batches if needed. Set aside.
  4. Turn the heat down to medium and remove some of the oil, leaving behind about a tablespoon’s worth.
  5. Sichuan Eggplant: In the same pan, sauté the garlic, chillies, ginger, and white part of the spring onion until golden and fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  6. Add the meat-free mince and continue to cook, stirring for about 2 to 3 minutes, before adding the chilli bean paste and cooking for a further 3 to 4 minutes.
  7. Add the sauce mixture to the pan and cook until thickened. Turn the heat off.
  8. Immediately stir in the eggplant and then plate up. Garnish with the green part of the spring onion and extra chilli slices (optional). Serve with freshly steamed rice and enjoy!

Yu Xiang Qie Zi (Spicy Sichuan Eggplant Stir-fry)

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

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Roast Barbecued Chicken

Roast Barbecued Chicken

Roast Barbecued Chicken

Hello Everyone! As of today I have been working 24 days straight – 3 Sundays of work, and another to look forward to this weekend. I cannot wait for a public holiday coming up next week, and then two Sundays off before I head back into another 2 Sundays of work towards the end of May. I know, I shouldn’t be complaining since I only work for about 2-3 hours on Sundays, but I guess it’s the fact that I have to get up early and do work in humid and ventilation-challenged areas makes it a depressing start to the ONLY weekend I have. Yeap, this is my life now. Anyway! Sorry to start off all moody and what nots; I have been feeling a little burnt out and just not in the mood these past couple of days – I’m hoping that I can change that with a little bit of rest… Hopefully.

Tonight’s recipe is one that I have been hesitant of sharing on my blog because it’s my Mom’s special barbecue marinade recipe. We finally came around to a decision to share it on the blog, and so I will be sharing her ever so deliciously finger-licking good marinade for a whole roast chicken. We usually fire up the barbecue for this recipe, but recently we have been roasting the meat in the oven for a healthier option to charcoal-barbecued chicken. You can also use this marinade for pork or lamb. I once brought some yummy pork bellies to a barbecue party that my colleague hosted a few months back. It was a great hit amongst my other colleagues and so I believe that they’ll be overly happy to know that I am posting the recipe for my Mom’s special barbecue marinade on the blog.

Roast Barbecued Chicken Ingredients

PREP TIME 20* MINS | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR 35 MINS | SERVES 6

*plus 4-6 hours of marination, or preferably overnight

INGREDIENTS

  • 2kg whole chicken, washed and cleaned thoroughly
  • 1 bulb garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 heaped tbsp hot & spicy UFC Banana Catsup
  • 1 heaped tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 heaped tbsp oyster sauce
  • Ground salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Juice of 5 calamansi
  • Cooking twine

METHOD

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Mix well until combined. Coat your chicken in the marinade and then leave in the fridge to marinate for about 4-6 hours (or preferably overnight). Remove chicken from the fridge 45-60 minutes before roasting to bring it back to room temperature.
  2. Preheat oven to 230C (450F or gas mark 8). Line a baking tray with aluminium foil and place a rack above it.
  3. Start by making a loop with the twine and fastening it around the stub of the neck. Bring it around the sides and tie a knot at the cavity, then pull it tight around the breast. Now, loop the twine around the drumsticks and tie another knot, tightening it until the legs cross.
  4. Place the chicken on the rack and into the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes. The lower the heat down to 175C (350F or gas mark 4) and continue roasting for an hour and 20 minutes more until cooked all the way through.
  5. Once done, remove the oven and set aside to rest for about 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Roast Barbecued Chicken

Roast Barbecued Chicken

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com