Easy Szechuan Eggplant with Chicken

The super-easy sauce is what makes this complex dish simple enough for weeknight meals.

Ground chicken, eggplant, and green onion are served with a rich, spicy szechan-style sauce over rice.

P.F. Changs used to offer a really good stir-fried eggplant dish with minced chicken, which I just loved. It had a delicious spicy garlic Szechuan sauce. You can still get it sometimes on special request, but I decided to emulate it at home. After studying a number of good Szechuan eggplant recipes online, I came up with this version that is a lot easier and still tastes great.

I borrowed the brining technique from J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, but took the easy route on the sauce to save time and effort. I think this is about as easy as you can get it, unless of course you skip the brining and take your chances on how the eggplant will fry up.

You can easily skip the green onions and ground chicken if you just want a delicious eggplant side dish. Also, you could substitute ground beef, lamb, pork, or turkey for a different flavor. 


A wok works well for this, but you can use a skillet as well.

TOTAL TIME: 40 min

  • Prep:      20 min
  • Cook:     20 min

YIELD:   2 - 3 servings

LEVEL:  Easy


DIRECTIONS

Cook your rice (optional).

Prepare the eggplant.  Slice it into pieces that are 1 inch or smaller. Then put them in a large bowl with salt water (1/4 cup salt per 2 quarts of water) for about 15-20 minutes. Then drain them and pat dry with paper towels.

Cook the ground chicken. You can use the same skillet or wok you will use for the eggplant. Saute on medium heat, stirring frequently until the chicken is cooked through - just a few minutes. Drain, and set the chicken aside.

Chop the green onions. Clean them and remove the dark green leafy parts and the roots. Cut the rest (white and light green parts) into small slices.

Saute or stir-fry the eggplant. Heat a skillet or wok on medium high heat, adding about 1-1/2 tablespoons of olive oil per eggplant. Once the oil is smoking, reduce the temperature to medium heat and add the eggplant pieces. Stir fry for 15 minutes or so, flipping frequently, until the eggplant is soft. Test using a fork - if it goes in easily all the way, it's ready.

Add green onions, chicken, Hoisin sauce, and Sambal sauce. Stir-fry all ingredients together for a couple of minutes until everything is hot.

Serve plain or over rice. 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 medium/large eggplant
  • 1 lb ground chicken (optional)
  • 2 bunches scallions (green onions)
  • 1/2 cup Hoisin sauce*
  • 1/4 cup Sambal sauce (Thai Garlic Chili)*
  • White rice (optional)
  • Salt
  • Olive oil or vegetable oil

* These are pretty common Asian sauces which are probably available at your grocery store. If not, find an Asian market in your area.


More Photos

Sambal sauce is available at most grocery stores or, if not, at your local Asian market. It's great on Thai food too. 

Hoisin sauce is the sweet to Sambal's spicy. Together, they are awesome!

Start with a medium or large eggplant. Rinse it and cut both ends off.

Slice it into pieces 1 inch or smaller. 

Bath them in salt water for 15 or 20 minutes. I like to put something on top of them (not shown) so they are covered with water on all sides.

Cook the ground chicken, then drain it and set the chicken aside.

Clean the green onions.

Remove the leafy green parts.

Slice the onions into small pieces.

Stir-fry or saute the eggplant in oil, flipping it frequently.

After about 15 minutes, the eggplant will be browner and softer. You'd like it to be soft all the way through  (use a fork to check it). 

Add the green onions and chicken.

Then add Hoisin and Sambal sauces and stir-fry it for a couple of minutes until it's hot. 

Serve by itself, or over rice.