AT A GLANCE
Probably as famous as ma po doufu, this is a favourite among homesick Sichuan folk the world over. There's no fish in the dish - it's flavouring is named for the seasonings used in traditional fish cookery. Dainty Sichuan's South Yarra version offers crunchy eggplant, while its city-store version is the buttery traditional one you see here.
|01||Combine vinegar and sugar in a bowl and set aside.|
|02||Heat oil to 180C in a wok over medium-high heat. Add eggplant in batches and deep-fry until golden and just tender (3-4 minutes; be careful, hot oil will spit), then drain well on absorbent paper.|
|03||Carefully ladle oil into a heatproof container (cool, then discard), leaving 2 tbsp oil in wok. Add pickled chilli, garlic and ginger to wok, and stir-fry until fragrant (30 seconds). Add eggplant, stock, Shaoxing wine and vinegar mixture, season to taste with salt, reduce heat to medium and simmer until liquid is absorbed (6-8 minutes). Mix potato flour with 2 tbsp cold water to combine, add to eggplant mixture and stir to thicken (1 minute), then serve hot scattered with spring onion.|
Note Pickled chillies are available from Chinese grocers.