Sichuan Chinese Chicken and Eggplant with Garlic Sauce

This is all my brother’s fault.  He was raving about the Sichuan chinese chicken and eggplant with garlic sauce that he had at a local restaurant.  I couldn’t get the idea out of my head, and I already had the eggplant (bought to make eggplant parmesan), so I figured I would give it a try.

This recipe is adapted from The New York Times. It originally called for minced garlic, soybean paste, and hot chili paste.  I had the garlic, but not the other ingredients, so I improvised. I replaced the soybean paste with hoisin sauce, and used chili garlic sauce instead of the garlic and chili paste.  Doing that also saved me an extra step (no garlic to chop). I reduced the water a bit to compensate. That recipe also called for ground pork (which I didn’t have because I’d eaten the last of it with my black beans, so I used chicken instead).

Eggplant is notorious for soaking up oil.  There are several schools of thought about preparing eggplant in order to minimize this.

Some insist you have to salt it and let it sit (to draw out the water) and dry it with a paper towel and let it sit for 45 minutes.  Others say to put it in water, salt the water, cover that with a lid or a heavy weight, and let it sit for 15 minutes, then drain, and dry it off.

A third way (which I just learned, and wouldn’t necessarily do for Chinese food), is to soak the eggplant in milk.



I tend to use the first method, but I confess I usually don’t wait that long.  I’m too impatient (and hungry). I get around it by slicing the eggplant very thin.

If you want your eggplant extra crispy, dredge it in cornstarch before you cook it.

Sichuan Chinese Chicken and Eggplant with Garlic Sauce

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Category: entree

Cuisine: Chinese

one serving

Sichuan Chinese Chicken and Eggplant with Garlic Sauce

Ingredients

  • 8-12 thin slices of eggplant
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1tsp potato starch or corn starch
  • 1/4C water
  • 1/2 tsp garlic chili sauce
  • 1/4 tsp hoisin sauce
  • 2T neutral oil
  • 1 chicken thigh

Instructions

  1. Slice the eggplant and place it in a bowl. Sprinkle it with a bit of salt, toss everything together and let it sit while you go on to the next step.
  2. In a separate, small bowl, make the sauce. Mix together the soy sauce, sugar, and starch (potato or corn) until the starch dissolves. Add the water, chili garlic sauce, and hoisin sauce.
  3. Heat half the oil in a large frying pan or wok.
  4. Slice the meat off the chicken thigh (if you are using bone-in), or cut into strips if you have a boneless thigh (I always get the bone-in, toss the bone in the pan first, let it cook a few minutes longer than the rest, and save it for stock).
  5. Cook the chicken for 5 minutes. Once it's done, transfer it to a plate while you cook the eggplant.
  6. Dry the eggplant with a paper towel.
  7. Add the remaining oil to the pan. When it gets hot, add the eggplant slices.
  8. Cook, stirring, and turning the eggplant occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until it's brown and slightly crispy.
  9. Now add the sauce. Cook another minute or so, then add the chicken back to the pan.
  10. Raise the heat to high and bring the entire thing to a boil. Let that cook for a minute or two.
  11. Serve with rice on the side.




More Asian Recipes

Asian Chicken Salad with Cabbage

Singapore Noodles with Chicken

Spicy Sesame Noodles for One

Ingredients and Tools to Make Sichuan Chinese Chicken and Eggplant with Garlic Sauce


Lee Kum Hoisin Sauce

Sweet, slightly tangy and great for this dish, as well as marinades. Try it with a simple pork roast, sliced and served with steamed bread and scallions. Or, marinate fish with garlic, hoisin, and five spice powder. It’s also great in stir fries.

 

Chili Garlic Sauce

In case you haven’t guessed (since I keep mentioning it), I love this stuff. It’s got more heat than sriracha (which has sugar), plus the extra flavor boost from garlic. I put it on eggs, in marinades, stir-fries, veggies, enchiladas, soup. Someone on Amazon mentioned mixing it with some plum sauce and cooking it with chicken. I’m going to try that next!

Chili Paste

If you want to be authentic, get the chili paste. Use it for this recipe, or for making Thai or Indonesian recipes. It makes a great starting base for marinades and sauces. Mix it into meatloaf or top some scrambled eggs. Think of it as sriracha with more kick.




Spicy Sesame Noodles Recipe for One Person

It was recently Chinese new year, and I had a craving for spicy sesame noodles. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the “right’ sort of noodles.  Most of the sesame noodles recipes use long pasta noodles, usually linguine. I didn’t have linguine, only penne.  So, I made do with what I had at hand.  Feel free to use either one. It doesn’t matter.

Also, the recipes I found online were either much too sweet, or called for other ingredients I didn’t have.  The one from Allrecipes was too sweet and had too much oil.  It was also meant to serve eight people, rather than just one person.  I found another recipe from The New York Times, but that one called for tahini or peanut butter, which I didn’t have.  I did like the idea of including ginger though.

This is really spicy, so if you prefer a milder version, leave out the chili garlic sauce.




Spicy Sesame Noodle Recipe for One

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Category: entree

Cuisine: Chinese

one serving

Spicy Sesame Noodle Recipe for One

Spicy sesame noodle recipe for one. This make a great quick and easy lunch.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup dry short pasta (if using penne or short pasta); if using linguine grab a handful about two inches around
  • 1 T canola oil
  • pinch sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp chili garlic sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sriracha
  • 1/2 scallion (just the green part), chopped
  • 1/8 tsp sesame seeds

Instructions

  1. Fill a medium size saucepan about two-thirds of the way full with water and bring to a boil.
  2. When the water comes to a boil, add the pasta and cook 8-10 minutes.
  3. While the water is coming to a boil, make the spicy sauce.
  4. Mix the remaining ingredients (except for the scallions and sesame seeds) in a small bowl.
  5. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and pour into a serving bowl.
  6. Add the sauce and stir to coat the pasta.
  7. Top with scallions and sesame seeds.

Notes

You can make this ahead and serve it cold, or eat it hot.

Spicy Sesame Noodles Recipe for One Person Substitutions and Variations

  • if you don’t have rice vinegar, use white vinegar
  • add strips of fresh bell pepper
  • add lightly cooked snow peas or broccoli
  • if you want a heartier meal, put in some cooked chicken
  • add 1 T tahini or peanut butter to the sauce (use the peanut butter to make a peanut butter and cucumber sandwich — yes, really)

More Spicy Recipes

Spicy Beef Noodle Soup for One

Chili Citrus Chicken Thigh Recipe for One

Easy Chicken Curry Recipe