Sichuan spiced aubergine

I haven’t done any blog posts for a while.

To be completely honest, it has become the elephant in my room, the Thing That Shall Not be Named, the ‘to-do’ that has been on each and every list I have written for ohhh, a good month now. Running a business is HARD WORK, I have to say. 

I had a 37 minute meeting today about sodding carrier bags.

But, as I drove home from the meeting in the sunshine, I realised I am doing exactly what I love, creating lunch deliveries and breakfast clubs for the nicest, funniest customers in the whole damn universe.

So I don’t start this blog with a story that is trying a little bit too hard to be funny.

I don’t start this blog by telling you about this one time where I realised a little too late in the day that my dress was inside out.

I start this blog by saying that I sometimes struggle with the texture of aubergine that hasn't been deep-fried. Finally, I have cracked the most delicious way to cook an aubergine, and that there is nobody I’d love to share this information with more than all of you.

It’s good to be back.


Take an aubergine.

Slice it in half.

Score all the way through the flesh, but not quite into the skin, to make a snazzy diamond pattern. 

If you nick the skin a bit, the world WILL NOT END, as I can absolutely testify first hand.

Smear the aubergines in a bit of oil. I generally find it takes a couple of tablespoons if I actually use a pastry brush and do this properly.

Generally I throw a bit of oil over the aubergines and use my hands.

Whatever works, I say.

Whack the aubergine under a hot grill for 5 minutes.

Then flip over and grill for another 5.


While the aubergine is grilling, take a clove of garlic and chuck it in a blender.

An amount of peeled ginger that is roughly the same.

Half a chilli.

Some soy.

Some sugar.

A drizzle of balsamic vinegar (it is an excellent subtitute for Chinese black vinegar, believe it or not).

And some sesame oil.

Blend well.

Or even not that well, it just needs mashed up a bit.

Paste this onto your now grilled aubergines.

Switch off the grill and switch on the oven to 200 degrees centigrade.

Which is practically unheard of in my kitchen.

Surely everything gets cooked at 180?

I’m like a proper chef with my multiple temperatures and all.

Throw the aubergine into this oven for 15 minutes.

Chop up some coriander.

And spring onion.

Sprinkle over the cooked aubergine.

And serve with the satisfaction of having mastered something freaking delicious.

Or some rice.


Sichuan spiced aubergine

Serves 2 as a side. Cooking time 30 minutes.

  • 1 aubergine
  • 2 tablespoons light olive or vegetable oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2cm piece ginger
  • 1/2 red chilli
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Small handful coriander
  • 1 spring onion
  1. Preheat the grill to a high heat (200 degrees if your grill has a temperature gauge)
  2. Slice the aubergine in half lengthways and score the flesh in a criss-cross pattern.
  3. Rub the aubergine halves with light olive or vegetable oil.
  4. Grill the aubergine for 5 minute each side.
  5. Peel the garlic and ginger.
  6. Blend the garlic and ginger together with the chilli, soy sauce, sugar, balsamic vinegar and sesame oil. 
  7. Once the aubergines have grilled, remove from under the grill.
  8. Switch the grill off and the oven on to 200 degrees.
  9. Spread the ginger paste on the fleshy side of the aubergine.
  10. Place in the oven for 15 minutes.
  11. Chop the coriander and slice the spring onions.
  12. When the aubergine is ready, sprinkle with the coriander and spring onion.
  13. Serve.