Episode 306: Bring the Heat: Benjamin's Tilapia with Sichuan Eggplant and Sweet and Spicy Slaw

Challenge: Bring the Heat

Dish: Benjamin's Tilapia with Sichuan Eggplant and Sweet and Spicy Slaw


2 ea Japanese eggplant, halved lengthwise and sliced
1 ½ tbsp chili bean paste
3 tsp chopped garlic
2 tsp chopped scallion
2 tsp chopped ginger
150 ml chicken stock
1 ½ tbsp shaoxing wine
1 tbsp light soy sauce
¾ tbsp corn starch, mixed with 2 tbsp water
1 tbsp black vinegar
2 tsp chopped scallion
1 ea tilapia fillet, halved lengthwise, sliced in two thick slices
½ cup ap flour
½ cup cornstarch
¼ green cabbage head, sliced thin
½ cucumber, peeled, sliced thin, no seeds
1 habanero, fine dice
1 fresno, fine dice
1 Thai kale, thin slice
2 tbsp sesame seeds


In a hot wok, no oil, toast red Sichuan peppercorns until smoky and fragrant, then grind.

Salt eggplant, leave to drain water, 30 minutes. Fry at 350 until crispy outside, soft inside.

In a hot wok, sauté garlic, ginger, scallion and chili bean paste until fragrant. Add stock, wine and soy. Add eggplant. Thicken with curry. Finish and toss with scallion.
Season with salt, sugar and lots of Sichuan pepper.

Toss fish with a ½ flour and ½ corn starch. Mix water with the other ½ flour and corn starch for a loose batter. Coat fish with batter. Fry until crispy at 350.

Toss cabbage, cucumber, and peppers and season with vinegar, sugar, and lime. Finish with sesame seeds.