Di San Xian (Stir-Fried Eggplant, Potato & Bell Pepper)

May 17, 2022
4 Ratings
Photo by Woonheng Chia
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 10 minutes
  • Serves 2 to 3
Author Notes

I love a vegetable stir-fry, especially when the vegetables are in season. This eggplant, potato, and bell pepper recipe is wonderful for warm weather. Also known as Di San Xian, which translates to "earth's three treasures," it’s a classic, delicious dish from northern China. The three vegetables are first fried until almost fully cooked, then tossed with a savory, simple sauce. This method preserves the eggplant’s beautiful hue and keeps the potatoes tender. Alternatively, you can panfry the vegetables over medium heat with a few splashes of oil until cooked through. But try this way first. —WoonHeng Chia

What You'll Need
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 1/2 medium green bell pepper
  • 1/2 medium red bell pepper
  • 1 medium Japanese or Chinese eggplant
  • Neutral oil, for deep-frying
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 scallions, ends trimmed and roughly chopped
  • Cooked rice, for serving
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk the soy sauces, sugar, and ¾ cup of water until the sugar is dissolved. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of water until combined.
  2. Scrub and peel the potatoes (or leave the skin on), then cut into 1-inch chunks. Cut the bell peppers into 1-inch chunks. Trim the ends from the eggplant, then roll-cut into 1-inch pieces (I like to cut the eggplant right before frying to prevent it from oxidizing).
  3. Fill a large wok or saucepan with enough oil for frying (1 to 2 inches deep) and heat to 350°F. Meanwhile, set a wire rack on top of a sheet pan next to the stove. Fry the potatoes until golden brown, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. Use a sieve to transfer the potatoes to the wire rack to drain excess oil. Using the same oil with the same heat, flash-fry the eggplant for about 45 seconds. After 30 seconds, add the bell peppers, too. Transfer the eggplant and peppers to the wire rack.
  4. Carefully pour the oil into a heatproof vessel (you can reserve and reuse it for other dishes), leaving about 1 tablespoon in the pan.
  5. Over medium heat, sauté the garlic and scallion until aromatic, about 1 minute. Add the soy-sugar mixture and bring to a boil.
  6. Add the potatoes, eggplant, and bell pepper and toss to combine. Cook until nicely coated and the potatoes are fork-tender, less than 2 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning accordingly. Add the slurry and simmer until thickened. Serve immediately with a bowl of rice.

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