Di San Xian: Potato, Eggplant & Pepper Stir Fry (地三鲜)

Di San Xian: Potato, Eggplant & Pepper Stir Fry (地三鲜)

Today, we wanted to show you how to make a
homestyle classic from the North of China, Di San Xian (地三鲜). Now Di San Xian literally translated
means ‘three fresh things from the earth’, and refers to this specific combination of
potato, eggplant, and peppers. While almost every homecook has their own particular way
of going about it, generally those are then either pan-fried or deep-fried, and tossed
together with a garlicky sauce. So right. To get started with your potato,
pepper, and eggplant stir-fry, you’ll need… potatoes peppers and eggplants. This was 500
grams of potato, and any starchy variety would do the trick; 125 grams of peppers, either
mild chilis or bell peppers and I like mild chilis, and 250 grams of eggplant. Now, when
buying eggplant, know that the standard southern Chinese eggplant has this tendency to shrivel
up like a salted slug when stir-fried. You want something firmer here: you could use
one of these round varieties, we went with this kind of Northern Chinese ovular eggplant…
and abroad, I believe an Italian eggplant would likely be your best bet. But right, let’s get started prepping the
potato. First peel them, then we’ll cut those into chunks. Now, know that the only
award I’ll ever win for knife skills is for participation, but this seemed to be as
good of a time as any to teach you the Chinese rolling cut. To do it, keep the knife straight
at roughly a 45 degree bias, then slice down. Now twist it 90 degrees so that the wedge
we cut’s facing the bottom, and slice with the same 45 degree bias. Then just twist and
work around the potato to get roughly 3 inch by 1.5 inch pieces. This is a quick way to
get relatively even wedges, but especially with something wider like potato a couple
pieces might end up a touch larger… so free to adjust according to your judgement. Now toss those in a big bowl, and move over
to the sink. Now, as anyone that’s made a failed batch of French fries could tell
you, the starch on the surface of potatoes loves to scorch before everything’s fully
cooked. So, we got to get that off. Give those a thorough rinse for about three to five minutes,
then let those soak until you’re ready to fry… but at least twenty minutes. Next up, the chilis. Now again, I personally
like mild chilis here, but bell pepper’s equally classic. Either way, you’ll want
to deseed them, optionally slice out the ribs, and cut on a bias into about one and a half
inch diamonds. And finally, the eggplant. You’ll want to
save this for last because eggplant loves to oxidize. The particular variety of eggplant
we used is best peeled, but no need if you’ve got something with thinner skin. Now to slice,
same deal as the potatoes: rolling cut, similar size as your wedges from before. Then, toss
those in a bowl, and unless you’re cooking your eggplant immediately, it’s a nice idea
to mix it with a splash of white vinegar, which’ll slow down that oxidation and help
keep color. And now, to fry. So right, Di San Xian at its core should really
be an easy homey kind of dish, and I know for a lot of folks deep frying is anything
but. So really, know that plenty of people’ll stop right here, pan-frying with about a half
a cup of oil. So if you can’t be hassled to deep fry, just… do that. But, deep-frying
cooks things more evenly, so that’s the direction we went. But either way, get your oil up to 120 Celcius,
swap the flame to medium-high and settle in. I know that 120’ll feel pretty low, but
we’ve got to let the potatoes soften and cook through completely. Now if you’re pan-frying
instead, simply do this over a medium-low flame, flip often, and keep it covered. But
here once those potatoes are slightly blistered and cooked though, after about 12 minutes,
swap the flame to high. The temperature’ll creep up, and you can take them out once they’re
browned to your liking. I like pulling them out once the oil’s back to about 180, or
about two minutes on our stove. Then strain out any excess oil, and toss on a paper towel
lined plate. Next up, the eggplant. Eggplant craves to
be fried at high heat, and’ll imbibe massive quantities of oil unless you’ll oblige.
So heat your oil up until you start to see little wisps of smoke, about 200 Celsius,
and drop in the eggplant. Quickly fry it – even just 20 seconds should be long enough. Then
take it out, strain out any excess oil, and transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Lastly, the peppers… oil up at around 185,
drop them in, quick stir, and take them out. And with that, our main ingredients are all
prepped. So we’ll be frying this today with some
aromatics: this was three minced cloves of garlic, an inch of minced ginger, and about
two inches of minced leek. In addition, we’ll also be adding a separate clove of minced
garlic near the end of the stir fry… this is a northern technique called “Touweisuan” (头尾蒜),
which’ll give the dish an extra little umph of garlic. So right. As always… first, longyau. Get
that wok piping hot, shut off the heat, add in the oil – here about a tablespoon – and
give it a swirl to get a nice non-stick surface. Heat on medium high now, immediately go in
with the aromatics. Thirty second fry, then pour a tablespoon of Liaojiu (料酒) a.k.a. Shaoxing
wine over your spatula and around the sides of the wok. Brief mix, then do the same with
a similar tablespoon of light soy sauce. Super quick mix, then add in ¾ of a cup of water.
Let that come up to a simmer, and season with a half teaspoon dark soy sauce – though
you could use light in a pinch – a half teaspoon salt, half teaspoon sugar, and an
eight teaspoon MSG or bouillon powder, your choice. Once those are dissolved, about 15
seconds, go in with the potatoes and give a quick mix. Then add in the eggplant, the
peppers, and the extra garlic. Super brief stir, then drizzle in a slurry of a tablespoon
cornstarch mixed with a tablespoon of water. Then once that’s nice and thickened… heat
off, and out. Di San Xian, done. So this is a very homecooking dish, people have a million ways of approaching it. Some people will skip the garlic at the end, and some will finish it with a little bit of vinegar… Some will pre-boil the potatoes before they deep fry them, And some people’ll just stir fry everything together, and then drizzle a pre-made sauce into it. So feel free to play around with it, and then find your own favorite way. So we’ll be off next week – Chris is going back to the States for a little bit. … and we’ll be back the following week with Suanni Bairou (蒜泥白肉) So right, check out the Reddit link in the description box for a detailed recipe… A big thank you to everyone supporting us on Patreon, and of course… subscribe for more Chinese cooking videos.

81 thoughts on “Di San Xian: Potato, Eggplant & Pepper Stir Fry (地三鲜)”

  1. That's an excellent sink, I'm not sure if anyone here has commented about the quality of the sink and the faucet but oh my… what a sink. If you're thinking of changing the faucet you are crazy!

  2. Hey guys, a few notes:

    1. Apologies for not knowing the name of the exact type of eggplant we used. I went a little crazy trying to find the exact cultivar and such. Basically, just use anything that can stand up to a bit of deep-frying.

    2. The sink is fixed, lol. On a whim, we uploaded a video a few days ago showing the new faucet… some of the comments were hilarious. We didn't want to have it cluttering the channel page/getting recommended to people because it is basically non-content, but we kept it unlisted. So you can see it here if you didn't happen to be on YouTube: https://youtu.be/2k_AE_b4y7A

    3. Ok, so mea culpa time: entry #514 in the continuing saga of 'deep frying stuff outside is different than deep frying stuff inside'. See the eggplant in the stir-fry section of the video? Yeah… that was overcooked. The frying oil always loves to drop temperature outside on our balcony – I forgot (even though we literally went over this in the YouTiao video), and I was stupidly going by the color/browning of the eggplant to determine doneness. So yeah, that's what it looks like if you fry you eggplant for 45-60 seconds. The following day I whipped up another batch and cooked it properly (and inside), so that's what you're looking at in the intro/thumbnail.

    4. For the rolling cut, know that there's no need to be quite so exact – this was just my best way to explain what's going on. When you slice it, it actually doesn't matter which direction you roll it… the little 'cut out wedge' could be facing the top, the bottom, the side… whatever.

    5. Quick recommended adjustment for those in the West. While it much more common to add the ingredients then the slurry… honestly I think if you're working from cornstarch, it might be a better idea to thicken, then add in the vegetables and mix. The reason is that potato starch thickens about twice as fast as cornstarch, and with this dish if everything's in the liquid for too long it'll soften/overcook. Thickening first'll give you more control over the whole process.

    6. If going that route, I'd recommend to thicken first by pouring the slurry into the sauce as a thin stream, stirring constantly (unfortunately this video wasn't the best visual of that as I was playing a bit too fast and loose… I'll see if I can find something). Then once everything's nice and thickened, toss in the potato and the garlic. Quick ~5 second mix, then toss in the peppers & eggplant, another quick mix, heat off.

    7. Oh! Something I forgot in the video. At the end toss in a touch of oil or toasted sesame oil for some taste and sheen.

    That's it for now. I (Chris) will be back in the States for a bit over a week to visit family – we'll be back on the following week, where we play the fun game of 'can I actually film stuff with terrible jet lag?'

  3. I loved this dish while I lived in China, and it's cool to know i remembered the cooking method correctly. I love the eggplant to have some skin for color. 这个味道很棒!

  4. I've got all of these ingredients currently growing in my garden. Can't wait to harvest and do this recipe 😁

  5. This dish, using my favourite ingredients, looks delicious, I'm definitely going to make this one soon. Thank you for sharing.

  6. wok's are much better in deep frying than my small deep-frying pan that always looks like an accident waiting to happen

  7. Lovely! I love it when you make these home style dishes. Especially the vegetarian ones that you sometimes make ☺️

    It’s fascinating because peppers and potatoes came to us all in the old world just a few centuries ago. Yet, even here in India, it’s inconceivable that green chillies and red chilli powder were not used by folks, say, in the 1600s.

    Btw, do fix the wobbling table too…one is at the edge of one’s seat when the knife is descending and the board does a tiny teeter. Uff! 😅

  8. I've been meaning to ask for a while. Is there a difference between putting the liaojiu and soy sauce over the spatula as opposed to just putting them right in the wok?

  9. thank you so much!!! this is one of my favorite channels.
    a request for any other home cooking dishes, as well as a fried tofu with a rich sesame sauce plz.

  10. Thanks for doing video a "real" Chinese food. There's just a lot of American-Chinese out there, which can be good. But I prefer the authentic stuff.

  11. I love this one. I have only recently made it. Any advice on what to serve it with?

    In terms of North Chinese cooking, do you have a recipe for wotou corn bread?

  12. This dish is really delicious. Living in Korea, one of my favorite dish to order at any Chinese restaurant

  13. My mom always did this with leftover roasted potatoes she reheated in the wok – no deep frying in HER house!

  14. Perfect timing again! Gonna make this tonight! I'm thinking about boiling the potatoes and the aubergine (different timings of course!) then giving them a fry to crisp up the surface. Should probably save some oil compared to the deep fry since I don't have a round bottom wok.

  15. Wish I wasn't allergic to garlic, this looks freaking amazing 🙂 I'll just leave it out, but I bet the flavor isn't complete without it.

  16. My favourite Chinese dish from when we lived in China. Rare to find it in English Chinese places! <3

  17. Interesting, the Japanese term for the way you cut the potatoes is Rangiri (乱切り). You see it done for a lot of root vegetables (carrots, daikon, etc)

  18. Awesome video! Could you possibly demystify some HotPot styles & corresponding spices/sauce around china? Thank you kindly in advance!

  19. Are you saying it's normal for people in China to traditionally have an oil thermometer? Because where I am from only exceptional cooking enthusiasts got one. And people making youtube videos.

  20. Woo! have an excellant trip to the States! I'd think it'd be really fun to do a few Vlog videos, of you both visiting some generic chinese restaurants in the states, and getting a few of the big dishes like general tso's, brocoli beef, orange chicken, wonton soup. and just…I dunno do like a five minute segment discussing what you think of them, how they differ from authentic, or whether they're complete fabrications, or such. I'd enjoy something like that. But not if it would ruin your vacation. you guys have fun!

  21. Hmmm, what about using shallots instead of leek? I would hate to buy leeks and only use a tiny bit of it.

  22. Delicious!! A bit random but I am Chinese but adopted by white British parents since the age of 2. In some small way I am trying to reconnect to Chinese and Asian culture, especially through cooking, which I love to do. Watching these videos and other wonderful cooking channels encourages me to try new ingredients and taste traditional recipes! Also, side note, I love that this one is already vegan so I don’t need to adapt the recipe 🧡

  23. What do you do with excess oil after deep frying? If you re-use it I'ld appreciate to learn about how to do it properly.

  24. This dish makes regular appearances at my Buddhist temple’s Sunday vegetarian plate lunch! Soooooo yummy!

  25. الله يعطيك الصحة 🌹👍🌺🌺🌺🌺🌺🌺🌺🌹🌺🌹🌺🌹🌺🌹🌺🌺🥀🥀🥀🥀🥀🥀🥀🥀🌳🌳🌳🌳🌳🌳🌳🌳🌳🌳🌳🌳🌳🌳🌳🌳🌳

  26. I love your videos, they have given me a new appreciation for Chinese cuisine. Would you consider starting your own subreddit to aggregate your recipes? /rCooking is kind of a shit show and it would be great to have the recipes easily accessible in one place.

  27. Actually, the name translate to 3 earth deities. (Not as in deities who are in charge of Earth, but deities who stay on earth. )

  28. Just finished eating it…. superb! Thanks for the great recipe, took me back to our trip to Beijing for sure!!

  29. I am going to cook this as soon as I can! Add a little multicultural touch with adding vinegar and Bagoong. Yummy and simple!

  30. Aka. 茄科三杰 the Great Three of Solanaceae (the Nightshade Family) in the lore of nerdy Chinese biologists…

  31. I have a question about the Eggplant, my Mum always taught me to soak and squeeze them is this a good idea for this dish? or is that just for other Eggplant stir fries?

  32. Great video. As a native Chinese I’m really happy that someone finally made the tutorial of my favourite dish in English. Here’s some of my personal advices:
    1. You probably shouldn’t stir that much while adding the starch water (勾芡). What we would do is to hold the pan or wok by hand and gently shake it till done.
    2. It would be better if you add more raw minced garlics at the final step, yes, after 勾芡. This technique is called 头尾蒜 that means using garlic at both the start and the end of cooking, which really gives the unique smell and flavour of 地三鲜.
    Really like for content and please keep up <3

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