Have you ever went to one of those Chinese restaurants and ordered this dish? They are so good. The eggplants are hot (both literally and spicy-hot), but soft. The minced pork add extra meaty depth to the dish (I just love pork). It’s oily, for sure, but it’s such a hearty dish that I keep on going back for more. Perfect when eaten with a bowl of rice.
For the longest time, I can never replicate this dish at home. The first time I cooked this, the eggplants are still half-cooked. And when they are still raw, eggplants have this strong, pungent (I’m not sure if pungent is the right word) smell that are just not nice. Luckily, the husband still gobbles up the food, raw eggplants and all.
The key to making this dish is patience. You need to fry the eggplants in batches to make sure that they are actually cooked.
Cooks in 30 minutes
- 2 eggplants, cut into rectangular pieces
- 3 garlic cloves, diced finely
- ginger, diced finely, slightly less than the amount of the garlic cloves (if you don’t have fresh ginger at home, I usually buy a bottle of pickled ginger and use those. They last so long in the fridge)
- 2-3 tbs chilli bean sauce (Toban djan; or you can use more, depending on how spicy you want it to be—I use the Lee Kum Kee’s brand. I’ll take a picture but I’ve just finished my bottle yesterday. Next time!)
- cut chilli (optional, depending how spicy you want it to be)
- 1-2 cups of chicken stock (fresh is certainly best, but I usually cheat and use the powdered one)
- 200 gr minced pork (you can substitute with minced chicken/beef)
- cornflour + water mixture to thicken
- sesame oil
- scallion for garnish
- oil to stir-fry
- Add oil to pan and stir-fry the eggplants in batches. When they’re half-cooked, add a bit of salt to draw the moisture even more. Continue to fry them until they are cooked and soft. Set aside.
- Add more oil to the pan if needed. Fry the aromatics (garlic and ginger, and chilli if using), until slightly brown. Add the minced pork.
- When the pork is almost done, add 1 tbsp of the chilli bean sauce. Then add the eggplants back to the pan. Add more chilli bean sauce, pepper, and sesame oil. Mix everything well.
- Add chicken stock and simmer it for a while. Taste and see whether you need extra chilli bean sauce (or cut chilli, for that matter—my husband really, really loves spicy food). Mix everything again and add cornflour mixture to thicken the sauce until desired consistency.
- Garnish with scallion and eat with a bowl of rice.
Ps. Go easy on the salt when salting the eggplants. They’re just ‘extra agent’ to help quicken the process of cooking the eggplants (salt draws out moisture from the eggplants, making them quicker to cook). The chilli bean sauce is usually already salty enough. If you use powdered chicken stock, it’s also another layer of saltiness. (Fresh chicken stock is usually less salty.) You can add a bit of sugar/black vinegar to cut through that saltiness if you want. Or simply use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock. (I never have vegetable stock at home, so there’s that.)
P.Ps. It’s not that hard, right?