Eggplant & pork
A restaurant-style Cantonese eggplant dish in a brown sauce with minced pork for flavoring. Pan-fried eggplants can absorb a large amount of oil. Use less oil for a lower calorie homestyle dish that emphasizes the broth more; use more to get a restaurant-style dish with a slicker mouthfeel and richer sauce. I suspect some restaurants deep fry the eggplant: I have tried this both ways and if you add enough oil when pan frying, the result is indistuinguishable from deep-fried so its probably an efficiency thing at the restaurant; its not worth it at home.
Variations include omitting the meat for a more vegetarian-friendly dish, or substituting veal or battered deep fried fish.
- 3 chinese or japanese eggplants, partially peeled, cut into rectangles
- 1/4 lb ground pork
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp white pepper
- 3 tbsp oil for frying eggplant
- Small bit of salty fish (optional)
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 2 tbsp oyster sauce
- 2 tsp sherry or cooking wine
- 2 tsp ginger, coarsely chopped
- 2 tsp scallions, coarsely chopped
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 tsp crushed garlic
- Combine pork, cornstarch, oil, and the oyster sauce in a bowl. Mix well and set aside.
- Partially peel the eggplants so that they are striped, alternating between flesh that is peeled and not peeled (you can leave them unpeeled if they are very fresh or remove the skin entirely if they are older and tougher). Cut into 3 inch sections, then quarter them lengthwise.
- Oil the pan and par cook the eggplants on high heat until they have reduced in volume by about 1/3 and start to wilt. Remove from pan.
- Add ginger, onion, and garlic to the pan and fry on high until fragrant, about 3 minutes.
- Brown the pork mixture on the pan.
- Combine pork, eggplant, aromatics, chicken broth, dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, sherry. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes, until eggplants are semi-translucent and provide no resistence when you push a fork through.
- Create a cornstarch slurry and add to the sauce until desired thickness. Add scallions and serve.