Hot and Sour Aubergines
These Hot and Sour Aubergines are a classic Chinese dish that is perfect for vegetarians or vegans. Serve with caramelised chilli peanuts for some extra crunch.
Vegetarian stir fry recipes
It’s a common misconception that Chinese food isn’t vegetarian or vegan friendly and that’s probably due to the fact that Chinese takeaways in the UK are often very meat-centric. But, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes, beef, pork, chicken, duck and seafood are all enjoyed across China, but so are vegetables! Noodles, rice, tofu, and (of course) vegetables are all staples in their meals so there are plenty of authentic vegetarian and vegan recipes to choose from.
To find out more about vegetarian food in China check out my in depth guide here.
My recipe for Hot and Sour Aubergines doesn’t require tofu or any other meat alternative. It’s a simple vegetarian stir fry with a classic hot and sour sauce. The aubergines soak up the flavours of the sauce like sponges, the stir fried peppers and spring onions provide a fresh flavour and the caramelised peanuts give some extra bite to the dish. It’s just one of the many dishes that I enjoyed while travelling across China. I hope you love it too!
What is hot and sour sauce?
Most Chinese takeaways in the UK sell Cantonese dishes like “sweet and sour”. “Hot and sour” is a similar dish that is popular in the Sichuan region of China and is the spicy cousin of the sweet and sour stir fry you know and love.
This simple sauce does not disappoint. It’s sweet, sour and spicy, every mouthful is bursting full of flavour. With an extra sprinkling of fresh red and green chillies it’s not for the feint hearted.
Although this is a vegetarian dish, with no meat substitutes, you don’t feel like you are missing out at all. In my opinion, hot and sour aubergines are best served with fluffy fried rice to help soak up the delicious sauce. But you can of course serve it with noodles if that’s what you prefer!
Hot and Sour Aubergines with Caramelised Chilli Peanuts
For the hot and sour sauce
To make the caramelised peanuts
- To prepare the peanuts mix the nuts with the water and sugar in a large heavy pan.
- Heat slowly until the sugar begins to dissolve and goes a straw like colour.
- Shake the nuts in the pan to ensure they are covered in the caramel. Avoiding stirring as this will make the caramel turn to crystals.
- Once they are fully coated and the nuts are a deep caramel colour turn out on to a baking sheet covered in grease proof paper. Try to avoid the nuts sticking together in clumps.
- While they are still sticky sprinkle over the chilli flakes.
- Leave for 10-15mins, or until the sugar has set.
To make the sauce
- In the meantime, mix the soy sauce with the cornflour in a bowl until it has completely dissolved.
- Next, stir in the red wine vinegar followed by the honey or maple syrup, garlic and ginger.
To cook the stir fry
- Heat a non-stick griddle or wok over a high heat and add the sesame oil.
- Slice the peppers and aubergines into long, strips roughly 1cm wide and fry them in the pan quickly and fiercely.
- Let the vegetables brown around the edges and become soft.
- Fry off the vegetables for 5mins, before adding the spring onions and bamboo shoots for another five minutes.
- Pour over the sauce and cook for another 5-10mins until the sauce is thick and sticky, evenly coating the vegetables.
- Add the chilli to the pan and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
- Serve by sprinkling over the caramelised peanuts and any extras like sesame seeds and coriander.
More vegetarian Chinese dishes
If you love this simple stir fry recipe you will love these other recipe.
VISIT THE GLOBAL RECIPE ARCHIVE
Do you love to travel? Why not check out some of the recipes I’ve brought back from my trips abroad.