Fruitful boat 

Many of these traditional Chinese symbols relate to wealth and money. This ‘boat’ made of aubergine symbolises the fishermen who lived by the shore and would return to land with boats full of fish or gold. It is considered a good omen for the rest of the new year.  

From China Sichuan.

Serves 2


  • 2 aubergines, about 700g
  • 50g aubergine filling, see recipe
  • 80g chicken fillet
  • 30g shiitake mushroom
  • 50g taro
  • 20g snow pea
  • 60g Chinese sausage
  • 30g carrot
  • 16g garlic granules
  • 30g frisee lettuce
  • 6g sakura purple

For the sauce:

  • 60g XO sauce
  • 100ml chicken stock
  • 10g sugar
  • 20g oyster sauce
  • 4g salt
  • 4g dark soy sauce
  • 6g light soy sauce
  • 4g potato starch or corn flour


Taro is similar to a yam or sweet potato and can be found in many Asian stores but sweet potato can be used instead.


  1. Craft the whole aubergines to the shape of a boat by slicing in half and scooping out some of the flesh. Use the leftover aubergine filling and dice into small pieces – you should have about 50g. Set aside.
  2. Finely dice the chicken, shitake mushroom, taro, snow pea, Chinese sausage and carrot into small pieces and set aside.
  3. To make garlic granules, simply dice a few garlic cloves very finely and fry gently until lightly golden. These can also be purchased in supermarkets or Asian stores.
  4. Heat some oil in a deep pan or fryer and deep fry the crafted aubergine boats for two minutes and bake for 10 minutes.
  5. Shallow fry the taro pieces and set aside.
  6. Blanch the carrot pieces and set aside.
  7. Heat the oil in a pan and add the chicken, diced aubergine, shiitake mushroom, Chinese sausage, snow pea, carrot and taro and stir-fry for two minutes.
  8. Add in the sauce and stir-fry for another minute until cooked.
  9. Place the stir-fried ingredients in the crafted aubergine, garnish with the golden garlic granules.
  10. To serve, spread some frisee lettuce and sakura purple (which is a micro herb used for garnish) around the crafted aubergine in the serving plate and serve. 


Recipe Series: Year of the Goat 

Award-winning restaurant China Sichuan share some of their traditional recipes synonymous with Chinese New Year, while Mak at D6 mark their first year in business with a modern take on some party dishes.

Recipes in this series:

Andy Foo

Andy Foo