Pork-stuffed Chinese Eggplant

For some reason eggplant is one of my favorite things. Maybe because it just picks up the flavor of whatever it cooks in and does not insert, or assert itself too strongly. For this dish you must use the Chinese eggplant, regular eggplant will just not work. I’m seeing Chinese eggplant a lot more often in regular supermarkets.

When you get this in a Chinese restaurant as Dim Sum, they usually deep-fry the stuffed eggplants in oil before steaming in the sauce. As you may know, eggplants absorb oil like a sponge, so to keep things healthy, I am just pan-searing them before steaming. These are stuffed with pork, but for more luxury, you can stuff with a mixture of finely chopped shrimp and pork if you like.

I made this the other night and Laura thought it was great. She especially enjoyed the creamy texture of the eggplant, mentioned it many times. Two Chinese eggplants were just right for us as an entree. For an appetizer I would halve the recipe.

If you can’t find fermented black bean sauce, you can leave it out of the recipe, or add a bit of oyster sauce instead.

 

Author: Jim Kirkley

Serves: 4

Pork-Stuffed Chinese Eggplant


INGREDIENTS

Filling
1/2 pound, ground pork
2 stalks, scallions – finely chopped
1 inch, fresh ginger – peeled and finely chopped
2 teaspoons, soy sauce
1 teaspoon, sesame oil
1 teaspoon, dry sherry
dash, white pepper
2 tablespoons, water
Sauce
1 cup, chicken broth
2 tablespoons, soy sauce
2 tablespoons, dry sherry
2 teaspoons, sesame oil
1 teaspoon, white pepper
2 tablespoons, cornstarch
4 tablespoons, Chicken broth
Eggplant
2 Chinese Eggplants
3 tablespoons, peanut oil
Other
1 teaspoon, cooking oil
1 tablespoon, fermented black bean paste –
optional

METHOD

  1. Mix the filling ingredients together in a bowl. Using a pair of chopsticks or fork, stir mixture quickly in one direction till water has been absorbed and meat becomes paste-like.
    Make the sauce: Combine chicken broth, soy sauce, dry sherry, sesame oil, and white pepper in a small pan and bring to a boil. Combine cornstarch and additional chicken broth in a bowl and whisk to a slurry. Add to sauce mixture and continue to heat until mixture thickens. Keep warm.
  2. Cut eggplants diagonally into 1 inch thick slices. Make a slit 3/4 of the way into each slice of the eggplant. Carefully open the slit and stuff a heap of filling into each slit. Using chopsticks helps here and if you wet your finger you can press the filling in without getting it stuck on your finger. Press to make sure filling is tight.
    stuffing
  3. In a large, non-stick frying pan, over medium heat, evenly spread 2 Tbsp of oil. Once oil is hot, add eggplants in one layer. Immediately cover with lid and pan-fry till bottoms turn golden-brown. Flip eggplants over, add 1 more Tbsp oil, cover with lid and pan-fry till other side turns golden-brown. This should take 7-10 minutes in total. Transfer eggplant to a clean plate.
    frying
  4. Add 1 tsp oil to the pan and fry the fermented salted black beans till fragrant if using.
  5. Reduce heat. Add the sauce and eggplant to the pan and gently spoon sauce over to coat eggplant evenly with the sauce. Sauce should be lightly bubbling. Cover with lid and cook for 2-3 minutes. You are effectively steaming and tenderizing the eggplant.
  6. Remove lid and allow sauce to thicken to the right consistency. Turn off the heat, transfer to plate and serve hot.

 

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