I really dig eggplant when it's oozy and mushy and full of flavor. Plain grilled eggplants in antipasto sort of bore me but when paired with meat in Asian dishes, I think it's a fabulous plant. When I discovered I had pork mince in my freezer, I thought "why not?"
This is my own take on the dish. With Chinese food, you'll find that everyone makes it a bit differently and the tastes also vary so rather than having specific quantities or rules, you mix and match to cater for your own preferences.
I looked around for recipes online and found this. I also got some advice from mum about how to cook. My fridge didn't contain any spicy bean sauce as I recalled so I just mixed up some bean sauce and chilli sauce. The end result was quite good. My pork mince was too salty but would taste alright if stirred through some rice. The eggplant was perfect for me: mushy and tender plus it had soaked up all the juices so it was far from plain.
Spicy Eggplant & Pork Mince
- 1-2 small eggplants, cut into fingers
- 150g pork mince
- salt and white pepper powder to taste
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp ground ginger (you can use finely chopped fresh ginger if you like but I don't like finding bits of ginger in my food)
- Combination of: bean paste, chilli sauce, soy sauce and sugar to taste. You can pre-mix your sauce or add the flavors in at the end
1. Combine the ingredients for the pork mince and set aside.2. Put some mild-flavored vegetable oil in a wok and heat on high.
3. Throw the eggplant pieces into the wok until lightly browned. Lower the heat and pop on the lid - let it sit there, stirring once or twice to distribute heat, until it's all softened. Transfer the eggplant into a plate.
4. You can prepare the sauce flavoring by mixing to your taste in a separate bowl.
5. Cook the mince in the wok until well browned and broken up. Add your sauce. If you're just going to wing it, add the different sauces bit by bit and have taste tests to ensure you're on the right track.My arsenal of sauces
6. Lower the heat, add about 1/2 cup of water and leave the lid on to simmer. You may want to thicken the sauce by sprinkling on some cornstarch.7. Finally, add the eggplant back into the wok and toss it all around. Make some last-moment adjustments to the dish if necessary. I found that adding sugar really brings it all together. If the sauce consistency isn't to your liking, add water/cornstarch to thicken or make it runnier.
Serve your eggplant and pork mince with rice. I didn't have rice so I had it with noodles - not the best mix but that doesn't change the fact that it's a wonderful, staple Chinese dish.