Eggplant with Minced Pork Sauté

14. September 2007 Vegetables + Salads 0

I was craving Chinese take-out for some reason–the bad, oily and saucy kind–and so my mouth watered when I read this recipe in the Sunday Times. I bought a large eggplant on my way home because our neighborhood supermarket doesn’t carry the small and thinner Asian kind. The large ones have darker and tougher purple skin, so I took more time simmering them here. As usual, I followed Harold McGee and salted the eggplant pieces after I sliced them. This draws out the moisture and collapses their spongy texture, so they don’t absorb all the oil when sauteing.

I realized I ran out of soy sauce when I was ready to make the sauce. I ended up using the kecap sambal in our pantry instead. It’s made of soy beans but also includes relish. I also used the last dollop of kochujang sauce I had in the fridge. Looks like I need to make a trip to Chinatown soon and restock my Asian pantry.

1 large eggplant, cut into smaller chunks
some ground pork
1 tbsp kecap sambal
1 1/2 tsps sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp kochujang sauce
2 stalks of scallions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
peanut oil

1. Place the eggplant chunks in a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and toss. Set aside.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the kecap sambal, sugar, kochujang sauce and cornstarch until the cornstarch dissolves. Set aside.
3. In a large wok, heat some of the peanut oil over high heat. Sauté garlic until golden brown. Add scallions and cook until soft. Add the pork and cook, stirring, until no longer pink, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pork to a plate.
4. Dab eggplant dry with paper towels. In the wok, heat some more oil over medium high until it just starts to smoke. Add the eggplant, and sauté until lightly browned and tender, about 10 minutes. Add the sauce mixture. Cook, stirring, for about 1 minute. Once the sauce thickens, add the pork back and 3/4 cup water. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer until the sauce thickens and the eggplant is tender, about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with salt.

Related post/s:
Italian cianbotta also uses eggplants
You can get the kecap sambal and kochujang sauce from Asia Food Market in Chinatown