Fragrant aubergine (eggplant) with minced pork

Fragrant aubergine (eggplant) with minced pork

By
From
Hong Kong Diner
Serves
2-4
Photographer
Kris Kirkham

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
2 chinese aubergines
1 garlic clove
1 large fresh red chilli, deseeded, (optional, depending on preferred spice level)
1/2 a thumb-size piece of ginger
a small handful fresh coriander
100g minced pork, (swapsies: 4 finely diced soaked shiitake mushrooms for vegetarians)
400ml vegetable oil, (or less if pan-frying the aubergines)

The marinade

Quantity Ingredient
1/2 tablespoon oyster sauce
1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon pure sesame oil

The sauce

Quantity Ingredient
1 tablespoon chilli bean paste
1/2 tablespoon oyster sauce
200ml chicken stock
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon chinkiang black rice vinegar
1/2 tablespoon shaoxing rice wine

Method

  1. Leaving the skin on, cut the aubergines (eggplants) in half lengthways. Then cut them into 3–4 cm chunks, to end up with approx. 12–16 pieces (depending on the size of your aubergines).
  2. Finely chop the garlic, chilli, ginger and coriander (cilantro), taking care to keep the chilli and coriander separate. Mix all the sauce ingredients together in a bowl. Tip the minced pork into a separate bowl, then add the marinade ingredients and mix well.
  3. Now build your wok clock: place your aubergine pieces at 12 o’clock, then arrange the garlic, ginger, marinated minced pork, chilli, the sauce bowl and lastly the coriander clockwise around the plate.
  4. If deep-frying, put the vegetable oil into a wok and heat to 180°C, or use a wooden skewer or wooden chopstick to test by placing the tip in the oil: if the wood starts to fizz after a second or two, the oil is hot enough. Carefully add the aubergine pieces and fry for 3 minutes, to immediately seal in their moisture and flavour. Have a metal or ceramic bowl ready with a metal sieve placed on top. Pour the aubergine and oil into the sieve to drain the excess oil, setting the aubergine aside for later.
  5. If you prefer to pan-fry rather than deep-fry, place the aubergine pieces in a mixing bowl and massage well with 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil. Heat a frying pan on a medium heat and cook the aubergine, flesh side down, for 3–4 minutes per side, until both sides are browned. Put into a bowl and set aside for later.
  6. Return the wok to the hob on a medium-high heat. Add the ginger and garlic, immediately followed by the minced pork, and begin to stir-fry, breaking up the meat and browning it well. Bring the wok to a high heat and, once smoking hot, add the sauce and bring to a vigorous boil. Put the aubergine back into the wok and reduce the heat to medium-low, allowing the sauce to simmer and caramelize around the aubergine pieces. Cover with a lid and boil for 8–10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. Scatter over the chopped coriander, and serve.

Tip

  • If you would rather keep this recipe completely vegetarian, you can simply swap out the minced pork with finely diced shiitake mushrooms and swap the oyster sauce for vegetarian stir-fry sauce.

Tip

  • When deep-frying at home, getting rid of old oil can be slightly daunting. The best way to throw away old oil is to allow it to cool in a saucepan, then pour it, either through a funnel or using a measuring jug, into an old wine or oil bottle. Then cover and throw it away. Don’t ever pour excess oil down the drain.
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