Chinese Chilli Aubergine with Rice Noodles

17 Sep

This is the third and final recipe in the Aubergine series for this season. Designed to convert even the most stubborn of aubergine haters out there. The previous two recipes were Berenjenas con Miel (Andalucian Fried Aubergines with Cane Honey) and Curried Aubergine with Chickpeas & Tomato.

I have to admit that I have saved the best for last. I first saw this recipe on Gary Rhodes’ Rhodes Across China series. He visited  many different regions in China cooking their signature dishes. At the end of the series he cooked a banquet showcasing all of his favourite Chinese recipes. This was one of his favourites. It was from Chengdu, the capital of the Sichuan province.

“It is said that ‘China is the place for food, but Sichuan is the place for flavour’. Food from the region is famously spicy, and girls from the capital Chengdu are reputed to be the most beautiful in the country as the chillies purge their skin of impurities.

Sichuan is as large as France with a population that is almost twice the size of Britain’s. Bordered by the snow-capped Himalayas, the inaccessible region has developed a unique culture and distinct cooking style. Most local people ascribe the spiciness of Sichuan cooking to the muggy climate. The best way to drive out the cold and moisture is with a kick of chilli heat.”
 
Not surprisingly I love Sichuan food. As you may have noticed I am partial to a bit of chilli and I also love the fragrant, tingly, numbing heat given out by the Sichuan peppercorn. This dish doesn’t contain Sichuan peppercorns but it has reminded me how much I loved a Sichuan spicy peanut noodle dish we served at the restaurant. It made your lips go numb, in a good way. I’m definitely going to hunt down that recipe and share it with you.
 
Chinese Chilli Aubergine with Rice Noodles
 
serves 2-3, vegan gluten-free. Adapted from Gary Rhodes Across China
  • 225-250 gr rice noodles (I used medium)
  • 1 large aubergine (about 450 gr)
  • vegetable oil for deep-frying
  • 2 tbsp chilli bean paste
  • 1 tbsp sambal oelek (pickled chilli sauce)
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped, green & white parts separated
  • a handful of fresh coriander, stalks and leaves separated and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp shaoxing rice wine (or dry sherry)
  • 200 ml veg stock
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce (or kecap manis)
  • 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 2 -3 tsp brown sugar
  •  1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp corn flour (corn starch) mixed with 2 tbsp water
  • sesame seeds

Peel the aubergine by cutting off the top and bottom and peeling with a knife from top to bottom. Cut in half lengthways and then cut into “chips” about 5cm x 1.5cm x 1.5cm.

Meanwhile cook the noodles in boiling salted water according to the instructions on the packet, drain in a colander and rinse under the cold tap to stop them cooking and sticking together. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a wok or deep frying pan until hot. Deep-fry the aubergine chips in about 3 batches until soft and golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and leave to drain on kitchen paper.

Carefully pour away all but 1 tbsp of the hot oil into a heat proof bowl and leave to cool before discarding. Heat the remaining tbsp of oil in the wok and add in the chilli bean paste, sambal oelek, ginger, garlic, coriander stalks and the white parts of the chopped spring onion. Stir fry for about 30 seconds

Pour in the rice wine/sherry and stock, bring to the boil and reduce for 2-3 minutes. Then put the aubergine back into the sauce.

Add the soy sauce, vinegar, sugar and salt and cook for 2 minutes. Taste for sweetness, it should be sweet, tangy and hot. Add more sugar, soy sauce or vinegar if necessary. Dissolve the cornflour in the water and add to the sauce, stir until thickened slightly.

Stir through the cooked noodles and reheat.

Serve in warm bowls garnished with the green parts of the spring onion, chopped coriander leaves and sprinkle over some sesame seeds.

This really is the best aubergine recipe out there. It converted me and I was a hater. Because the aubergine is peeled it melts right into the spicy sauce coating the noodles in beautiful deliciousness.

Try it!!

Things That Made Me Smile Today……

These beautiful hot pink flowers. I don’t know what they are but they look like bright pink feathery fans. The kind they use for Burlesque dancing…..

And these dying sunflowers look like those gorgeous big shower heads. I want…

Enjoy the rest of your weekend….

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23 Responses to “Chinese Chilli Aubergine with Rice Noodles”

  1. Savorique September 17, 2011 at 10:20 pm #

    Another amazing aubergine recipe! May I also suggest a 4th eggplant-based dish that is likely to convert eggplant haters? Stuffed aubergine: Corsican or Sardinian stuffed aubergine, also called “aubergines farcies bonifaciennes”.

  2. Christine September 17, 2011 at 11:28 pm #

    Looks good. Love the photos.

  3. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide September 18, 2011 at 12:04 am #

    Those eggplants are simply stunning, who could hate them. I know, I know. Loved this series. Great recipe.

  4. Parsley Sage September 18, 2011 at 1:18 am #

    Amazing! I’m gonna have to go back and look at your other eggplant recipes in the series. We’re HUGE fans. This dish looks so yummy and flavorful :) Buzzed

  5. healthy mamma September 18, 2011 at 2:19 am #

    I love eggplant and just recently found out it grows well in Phoenix area! Who knew?! I’m totally getting some heirloom seeds giving it a go.
    In the meantime, I am making this first thing next week!

  6. Kathy September 18, 2011 at 6:21 am #

    This looks wonderful. Great photos!

  7. Beth Michelle September 18, 2011 at 9:55 am #

    Looks wonderful!! We loved the Sichuan food while traveling in China this summer. Its so spicy and delicious!! Will have to try this for sure.

  8. marvie2008 September 18, 2011 at 10:00 am #

    I love eggplant! thanks for the recipe, this is cooking tonight :)

  9. Lauren September 18, 2011 at 12:23 pm #

    Love aubergines, one of my favourite dishes at my favourite restaurants is just aubergines with sesame seeds and a bit of chilli. Can’t wait to make this :)

  10. frugalfeeding September 18, 2011 at 10:30 pm #

    Looks awesome. I love using sesame seeds in noodle dishes, they really add an extra sort of nutty dimension, but are incredibly subtle too.

  11. Liz September 19, 2011 at 1:06 am #

    Mmmmm…your spicy eggplant dish looks fabulous! And thanks for sharing your beautiful flower photos~

  12. chicaandaluza September 19, 2011 at 12:23 pm #

    Gorgeous, gorgeous…maybe I can still convert Big Man into an aubergine lover!

  13. Mandy Vellacott September 19, 2011 at 6:59 pm #

    We are definitely new Aubergine lovers since these recipes came out. I liked them before but I think the “maintenance man” probably wasnt so keen!! All that has changed now! thanks!

  14. sarah September 19, 2011 at 8:27 pm #

    Oh wow- this is my favorite recipe of the series! And I just so happened to pick up several eggplants at the market this weekend. I am totally making this dish tomorrow night!!

  15. Isabelle @ Crumb September 19, 2011 at 8:57 pm #

    There’s a very similar aubergine dish on the menu of my favourite Szechuan restaurant, though their version is just aubergine in spicy sauce. It’s so good that I’ve often been tempted to eat an entire order of that eggplant all by myself… though I usually end up playing nice and sharing with everyone else.
    Sounds like the rice noodles make a proper meal of it, though, so I wouldn’t feel quite as guilty about gobbling down a an entire bowlful for dinner. :)

  16. Joanne September 19, 2011 at 9:10 pm #

    I LOVE eggplant and I’m always looking for new ways to cook it. Just bookmarked this, thanks!

  17. Caroline September 19, 2011 at 11:16 pm #

    Yum! I agree with Joanne…I’m a huge eggplant fan and love finding new recipes. This dish looks beautiful!

  18. happywhennothungry September 20, 2011 at 4:13 am #

    I love eggplant and don’t make it nearly as much as I should. Def need to try this recipe. Looks fantastic!

  19. Visda September 21, 2011 at 1:52 am #

    Dear Natalie, There is an award waiting for you here.

    http://shikamoo.typepad.com/shikamoo/2011/09/blog-award-nominations.html

  20. Nami | Just One Cookbook September 22, 2011 at 12:47 am #

    You and I both love eggplant I guess. :-) It’s nice to see eggplant in noodle dish and I think I’ve never seen one before. Both eggplant and rice noodles are perfect to coat with other ingredients and sauce. This is mouth-watering delicious!!!!

  21. tiffany September 22, 2011 at 2:30 pm #

    I can taste the heat! And love that you added some crunch with the sesame seeds! BUZZED! :D

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Sunday Funday | Crisduh - November 5, 2012

    [...] Eggplant has been my go-to veggie these past few weeks. I highly recommend this recipe. [...]

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