One of our favorite things to do on weekends is to go to the only Chinese restaurant in town that serves Dim Sum. For those of you who don’t know, Dim Sum is a Chinese tea lunch, where small plates of food are served. Most places have carts that wheel around carrying the various dishes and you choose what you want one at a time. We always order the same things when we go. We should probably try something different once in a while, but what we get is just so good, we don’t want to miss out.
One dish we really like is this eggplant dish served with ground pork and a rich sauce. In the Dim Sum version, they stuff and steam the eggplant. But I wanted to achieve the same taste without all the work of stuffing it. I searched the internet for something like it and this comes close. It is not difficult to make if you have a wok and a steamer. Don’t have a steamer? Use a large frying pan and this food hack.
We made it last night and served it with Steamed Gai Lan (also known as Chinese Broccoli) no recipe needed here. Just cut into bite-sized pieces, leaves and all, steam it until the thick part of the stem is al dente. Place on a platter and pour on some warmed Oyster Sauce mixed with a touch of sesame oil.
Here is the recipe for the Eggplant.
Braised Eggplant With Pork in Szechuan Sauce
3 Japanese eggplants – about 1 1/2 pounds
1/4 cup, Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
2 teaspoons, cornstarch
3/4 cup, chicken broth
1 tablespoon, Sichuan fermented chili-bean paste (or generic Asian chili-garlic sauce if unavailable)
3 tablespoons, soy sauce
1 teaspoon, sesame oil
2 tablespoons, black vinegar (or 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar and 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar)
1 tablespoon, sugar
2 tablespoons, ginger – finely chopped
3 cloves, garlic – finely chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
4 scallions – whites and light green parts finely chopped, greens sliced
2 small, hot green chilies (preferably Chinese – but Serrano or Jalapeno will do fine), seeds and ribs removed, finely chopped
3 tablespoons, peanut or avocado oil
4 ounces, ground pork
- Slice eggplant into quarters lengthwise, then cut into 3-4 inch lengths. Place pieces in bamboo steamer and steam in the wok over medium heat until fully tender, about 15 minutes. An indentation made with your finger on eggplant should not spring back. Transfer eggplant to bowl and set aside.
- Meanwhile, combine Shaoxing (or dry sherry) wine and cornstarch in medium bowl and whisk until no dry cornstarch remains. Add chicken broth, sesame oil, bean paste (or garlic chili sauce), soy sauce, black vinegar, and sugar and whisk to combine. Combine ginger, garlic, scallion whites, and chilis in small bowl.
- Heat oil in wok over high heat until just beginning to smoke. Add ground pork and stir-fry for 30 seconds until most of pink color is gone. Push pork to sides of wok to make space at bottom. Add ginger mixture and stir fry 30 seconds until aromatic. Add eggplant and toss to combine. Add sauce mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce is rich, thick, and glossy, about 20 minutes. Stir in scallion greens, and serve immediately.