In Sichuan cooking, there are over twenty-three different flavours that can be created. ‘Yu-shiang’ or ‘fish fragrant’ is just one of these, but this dish does not actually taste ‘fishy’. It is a way of describing the almost bouillon-like taste that is derived from using a good stock.

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  • 6 tablespoons groundnut oil or corn oil, sunflower oil, vegetable oil

  • 1 aubergine, halved lengthways and then cut into 1cm/½ inch slices, top to bottom

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed and finely chopped

  • 1 medium red chilli, finely chopped

  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated root ginger

  • 200g/7oz minced pork

  • 1 tablespoon Shaohsing rice wine or dry sherry

  • 2 tablespoons chilli bean sauce

  • 2 pak choy or ½ Chinese cabbage, halved and sliced lengthways

  • 200ml/7fl oz hot chicken stock

  • 1 tablespoon clear rice vinegar or cider vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

  • 2 spring onions, chopped

  • 1 tablespoon cornflour blended with 2 tablespoons cold water


  • 1.

    Heat a wok over a high heat and add 4 tablespoons groundnut oil. Fry the aubergine slices with a splash of water until softened and golden on the outside. Transfer to a plate and put to one side.

  • 2.

    Wipe out the wok, reheat and add 2 tablespoons groundnut oil. Stir-fry the garlic, ginger and chilli for a few seconds, then add the minced pork. Stir-fry for 1 minute, then add the rice wine or sherry. Cook until browned, then add the chilli bean sauce and stock. Return the aubergines to the wok. Add the pak choy.

  • 3.

    Season with the vinegar and sesame oil and bring to the boil. Stir in the spring onion. Add the blended cornflour and stir to thicken. Serve immediately.



  • To help vegetables cook in the wok, add a splash or two of water to help create some “steam” whilst stir frying.

  • Use msg free products where possible.

  • Groundnut oil can be substituted with vegetable oil, sunflower oil or corn oil.

  • A large number of dishes can be adapted to suit vegetarians. Look out for where you can substitute the meat for tofu or vegetables and use vegetarian sauces.

  • Use low sodium soy sauce where possible
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