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Apr 11, 2010 09:59 AM

Sichuan eggplant in garlic sauce vs. yu hsiang eggplant

Are they essentially the same thing? Comparing recipes, they appear to be...

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  1. Essentially yes they are, although what you get in US Chinese restaurants as eggplant in garlic sauce will probably not be as good as yu xiang qiezi made from say Fuchsia Dunlop's recipe. Yu xiang is often translated as (and written in the characters for) "fish flavor" but Barbara Tropp posited and I agree that the base meaning is from the old names for Sichuan (Yu) and Hunan (Xiang), neighboring provinces with similar cuisines. "Fish flavor"dishes do not taste like fish and do not use ingredients that are invariably used with fish - but they do use an ingredient (doubanjiang, hot bean paste) that is widely used in Sichuan and Hunan food.

    4 Replies
    1. re: buttertart

      Thanks, buttertart. I've always loved the dish, with pork or without, and by either name it seemed pretty similar to me. Haven't made Dunlop's version, though hers was one of the recipes I came across just today....

      1. re: buttertart


        I belive the "yu-xiang" refers to how the Sichuanese prepared fish -- i.e., using hot, sour, salty, and sweet flavors all in one dish. When the same prep was used with eggplants, the name sort of stuck and so it became "yu-xian chie-zi" or 鱼香茄子.

        1. re: ipsedixit

          That is of course one theory on the origin, the other (referring to geographic area) seems to me to be as plausible. Not all Sichuanese fish dishes have all of the flavors that are used in yu xiang dishes.