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Recipe: Eggplant cooked in red sauce

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Editor's note: As interest in Yunnan cuisine increases around China and the rest of the world, GoKunming contributor Guo Duomi will occasionally offer recipes for traditional Yunnan and Chinese dishes. If there is a certain dish you would like to see a recipe for, please send us your ideas via our contact form.

Eggplant cooked in red sauce – Hongshao qiezi (红烧茄子)
Eggplant or aubergine is a staple in not only Yunnan cuisine but Chinese cuisine around the country. Similarly, soy sauce-based hongshao dishes are available all over China.

Two types of eggplant can be found at produce markets around China. The first is the plump, dark purple vegetable well known in the West, the second is a longer, thinner version with striking bright purple skin. The bright purple variant is more prevalent but it may be substituted with the other as taste does not differ between the two.

2 medium eggplants
5 sprigs of spring onion
2 small green Chinese capsicums*
5-10g ginger
3 cloves garlic
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp black pepper
Oil for frying
* Using zhoupi lajiao (皱皮辣椒) – a slightly spicy wrinkly-skinned variety of capsicum – is recommended for this dish. If zhoupi lajiao is unavailable, you can substitute with a standard green or red capsicum.

Slice off the top and then slice the eggplants into strips around 3 centimetres long. Wash and chop up the spring onion into two centimetre lengths and chop the capsicum into small pieces. Wash the ginger thoroughly and slice thinly, leaving the skin on. Peel the garlic and slice it thinly.

Heat 3 – 4 tablespoons of oil in a wok on high heat and add the eggplant. Stir thoroughly until the eggplant has taken up all of the oil, then fry for around five minutes, shifting the eggplant around occasionally but giving it time to cook without being disturbed.

Ultimately you want your eggplant to be browned on the outside and reasonably mushy, you will find it gives back a lot of the oil to the pan when ready.

Once cooked remove the eggplant to a plate, leaving the oil in the wok.

Lower the heat slightly and add the spring onion, capsicum, garlic and ginger to the wok. Stir fry them together for around a minute and then return the eggplant to the wok.

Add in the salt, pepper and soy sauce and stir to mix thoroughly. Transfer to a plate and serve.

Happy Eating!

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One of the reasons I like China is the food and especially how they manage to make vegetables both tasty and interesting to eat. Yu sang quizi, Gong bao quezi, Hongshao quezi and all the variants,, great taste (although a bit on the oily side),, back home I would never eat eggplant. Here I don't mind ordering nothing but vegetable dishes and cut out the meat. Unthinkable in my native country's bland cuisine.

Thumbs up for this site's Yunnan recipe corner.


I agree Danmairen. I would never eat vegetable when I was young and even as a young adult. Since I been in China, I can't get enough of the stuff (vegetables). And yes, at times it's very oily but soooooooooo delicious. Two thumbs up!

someone should put these recipes together into a yunnan cookbook, they're great.


These recipes are the only ones I have ever seen that truly remind me of eating in local restaurants in Kunming. Looking at them has made me feel sad, hungry, and motivated!

Some things I'd like to know include: how do you make yancai? They don't sell it here.

How do you make the basic mixian you can eat on the street for breakfast? What do you do if you don't have the fat noodles?

Remind me of what's on for BBQ late at night near the universities. I especially want to know how they make that grilled sweet red pepper dish!

I got back from Wenshan, which is 330kms south of Kunming, last week and ate a variant of this that also included potato. It was absolutely beautiful. I love vegetables wherever I happen to be, but was delighted to discover new ways to prepare some of my favourites. I am always looking for new vegetarian recipes as half the family choose not to eat meat.

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