Di San Xian (or more accurately read as 'dee sun sen') is a delicious vegetarian dish from Dongbei (north east China). The name Di San Xian 地三鮮 is translated as 'earth three fresh'.
Potato is hardly ever added to any Chinese stir fries, but this recipe really works and truly yummylicious. Once you have tried it, you want again and again. The secret of this recipe is all the vegetables must be shallow or deep fried in oil, if not you won't get the same flavour or sweetness from the vegetables.
The recipe is quite easy. Other than the vegetables, the flavouring is really simple.
Di san xian 地三鮮
1 large Dutch aubergine (eggplant) or 2 - 3 oriental aubergines
2 - 3 medium potatoes
1 large green pepper (bell pepper)
1.5 - 2 cups of oil for frying
2 large clove garlic
3 - 4 stalks of spring onion (scallion), use only the white part
2 tbsp light soy
2 tsp dark soy
1 - 1.5 tbsp sugar (or to your taste)
1/2 cup of homemade stock (vegetarian or chicken), if not can use just water
1/2 tsp stock granules/bullion (vegetarian or chicken),optional
1 heap tsp of cornflour (cornstarch) mix with 2 tbsp water
- Cut potatoes into bitesize chunks. I like to cut my into irregular thin wedges.
- Cut aubergine into chunks, 2 - 2.5 times the size of potatoes. It will shrink after cooking. Cut just before cooking to prevent browning or straight after frying the potatoes. Do not rinse or salt the aubergine.
- Cut green pepper into chunks.
- Chop garlic and spring onion.
- Heat oil in work till hot then put in potatoes and fry till light golden brown and cooked through, similar to chips (fries). Remove and drain on kitchen paper to remove excess oil.
- Fry the aubergine in the same oil at high heat. The aubergine will absorb a lot of the oil at first. When the pieces become golden brown, most of the absorbed oil is released. Fry till golden and soft. Remove and drain on kitchen paper to remove excess oil.
- Fry the green pepper briefly for about 1 - 2 minutes on high heat. Remove and drain on kitchen paper to remove excess oil.
- Remove all the oil except 1 tbsp, add in the garlic and spring onion, fry at medium heat till light golden.
- Add in stock or water, follow by both soy sauces, stock granules and enough sugar to taste. I like mine fairly sweet.
- When the liquid is boiling, add in all the vegetables. Stir briefly then thicken with slackened cornflour. High heat and reduce the sauce to almost dry and vegetables are evenly coated with the sauce. Ready to serve.
** This dish is normally without any spice. If you like spicy you can add some chilli flakes when stir frying the garlic.