Vegan Sichuan Braised Eggplant
This is a vegan take on a classic Sichuan dish, the dish is usually made with pork mince but here I’ve substituted that for peanuts which are simmered in the sauce to give a similar soft texture. The signature of the dish along with most Sichuan cooking is intense heat.
- 3 tablespoons peanut oil
- 4 small eggplants cut into sixths lengthwise
- 1 medium brown onion diced
- 2 medium carrots diced
- 1 1/2 tablespoon crushed Sichuan peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 3 cloves garlic crushed
- 2 tablespoons la doubanjiang (chilli bean paste)
- ½ cup vegetable stock
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup chin kiang vinegar
- 1/3 cup roasted peanuts
- thinly sliced spring onions and chilli to serve
- fresh coriander to serve
- steamed rice to serve
Preheat oven to 150°C. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Place eggplant pieces in batches, cut side down into the oil and cook for 3 minutes then turn and cook a further 3 minutes. Remove from pan.
Reduce heat to medium and add the carrot and onion to the pan and sauté for 10 minutes. Stir in the peppercorns, garlic and ginger then sauté a further two minutes. Add in the bean paste and sauté for two minutes.
Add the stock, soy, vinegar and peanuts then stir to combine. Submerge the eggplant pieces in the liquid then bring to a boil.
Cover and transfer to the oven. Braise for 1 hour then uncover then braise for a further 45 minutes. Transfer to serving dish then top with coriander, chilli and spring onion. Serve with a side of steamed rice.