Di San Xian (Fried Potato, Eggplant and Pepper in Garlic Sauce 地三鲜)

Perfectly charred and crispy pan fried potato, eggplant and pepper stirred with a garlicky savory sauce. A simple vegan dish that makes a great dinner served with a bowl of white rice! {gluten-free adaptable}

Di San Xian (地三鲜) is a signature northern Chinese dish from the Dongbei Area (or Northeast China). The name Di San Xian means “three treasures from the ground”, representing the potato, eggplant and green pepper in the dish. These are the most common vegetables in any market in northern China which can be found all year round.

Like many other Northeast Chinese dishes, the cuisine emphasizes a family style presented in a rustic way that is often viewed as less elegant. However, the cooking method does turn these three plain vegetables into a feast that has your mouth watering simply by looking at it!

To cook Di San Xian in restaurant style, you will need to quickly fry all the ingredients in hot oil in the wok. It is called Guo You (过油) in Chinese; literally meaning to walk the ingredients through the oil. This creates a crispy crust outside of the veggies without using any batter.

Di San Xian Cooking Process

When it comes to home cooking, I try to avoid deep frying as much as possible. So I’ve developed a few tricks to create crispy veggies with less oil and a cleaner kitchen counter. The veggies will brown beautifully with a crispy char on the surface and tender inside, just like you find in a restaurant.

To enjoy Di San Xian, serve it hot on top of steamed rice or boiled noodles. I guarantee you’ll finish a big plate in no time!

 Di San Xian (Fried Potato, Eggplant and Pepper in Garlic Sauce 地三鲜) - Vegan | Gluten-Free | Stir-Fry | Chinese Recipe

Cooking notes

  • Although Asian eggplant generates better results, I’ve successfully cooked with regular eggplant. As long as you follow the method in the recipe, your eggplant will turn out crispy.
  • Soak the eggplant in salt water for 15 to 20 minutes, dry thoroughly, and then coat with cornstarch. This is my default method to create crispy eggplant without deep frying.
  • Slice the potato into half-moon shapes instead of cutting into wedges so that both sides crisp up perfectly in the pan.
  • Use just enough oil to cover the pan to shallow fry the vegetables instead of deep frying.
  • After making countless stir fry dishes, I’ve found again and again that cooking in small batches creates much better results. The recipe below only yields two servings (as a main). You can always double the recipe, but remember that you need to pan fry the veggies in small batches to achieve the best outcome.

Di San Xian Cooking Process Di San Xian Cooking Process

More Northeast China Recipes

  • Braised Chicken With Mushrooms
  • Northern Vegetable Stew
  • Kimchi Pork Steamed Buns
  • Napa Cabbage Soup with Meatballs

Happy cooking and hope you enjoy the dish!

 Di San Xian (Fried Potato, Eggplant and Pepper in Garlic Sauce 地三鲜) - Vegan | Gluten-Free | Stir-Fry | Chinese Recipe

If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), take a picture and tag it @omnivorescookbook on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with.
5.0 from 3 reviews Di San Xian (Fried Potato, Eggplant and Pepper in Garlic Sauce 地三鲜)   Print Prep time 20 mins Cook time 10 mins Total time 30 mins   Author: Maggie Zhu Recipe type: Main, Side Cuisine: Chinese Serves: 2 Ingredients Sauce

  • 1/4 cup vegetable stock (or water)
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce (or soy sauce, or tamari for gluten-free)
  • 1/2 tablespoon dark soy sauce (or soy sauce, or tamari for gluten-free) (*Footnote 1)
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch

Stir fry

  • 1/2 regular eggplant or 1 large Asian (around 10 ounces / 300 grams) , chopped into bitesize pieces (*Footnote 2)
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 1 small russet potato (about 1/2 pound / 230 grams), halved and sliced to 1/4-inch (1/2-cm) pieces
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 green onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • (Optional) 2 teaspoons sesame seeds for garnish


  1. Add eggplant into a large bowl and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons salt. Add tap water to cover and stir to dissolve the salt. Use a small plate or a lid to cover the eggplant pieces and submerge them in the water. Soak for 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Drain eggplant and dry thoroughly with a paper towel. Sprinkle with cornstarch and gently mix by hand, until the eggplant pieces are lightly coated.
  3. Combine vegetable stock, light soy sauce, cooking wine, sugar, salt, and cornstarch in a small bowl. Mix well and set aside.
  4. Heat a large pan (or a wok) with 1/3 cup oil over medium-high heat until hot. Place the eggplant in the pan and spread the pieces without overlapping. Cook the eggplant without moving it until the bottom turns golden brown. If the oil in the pan is fully absorbed by the eggplant before cooking through, add a bit more oil to the pan. Turn to medium heat when the pan start to smoke. Flip the pieces to cook the other side until golden brown. Transfer to a big plate.
  5. Your pan should still have plenty of oil since the eggplant will start releasing oil once cooked.
  6. Spread the potato pieces in the pan. Cook without moving until the bottom turns golden. Flip to cook the other side, until golden. Transfer to the plate with the eggplant.
  7. If your pan still has too much oil, carefully remove some with a folded paper towel and only leave about 1 teaspoon oil in the pan.
  8. Add green onion and garlic and stir a few times until fragrant.
  9. Mix the sauce again to dissolve cornstarch completely. Pour into the pan. The sauce will thicken immediately.
  10. Return the eggplant and potato to the pan and add bell pepper. Cook and stir until the sauce is evenly coated over the vegetables. Transfer everything to a plate immediately.
  11. Garnish with sesame seeds (if using) and serve hot with steamed rice as a main or as a side.

Notes 1. Dark soy sauce adds an appetizing dark brown color to the sauce. Regular soy sauce will work just fine but your dish will turn out lighter in color.

2. Regular eggplant contains more liquid and is difficult to crisp up. You’ll obtain better results if you use Asian eggplant. 3.5.3226

The recipe was originally published on Aug 12, 2013 and updated by Mar 14, 2017

Ingredients You Need:

Light Soy Sauce

Naturally Brewed Superior Light Soy Sauce

Light Soy Sauce

Naturally Brewed Superior Light Soy Sauce