|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
This popular Szechuan side dish recipe for eggplant in garlic sauce is made with Chinese eggplant, which is thinner and longer than the short and thicker eggplant that is commonly available in supermarkets.
Both Chinese eggplant and chili garlic sauce are available at Asian markets and many mainstream grocery stores.
- 2 medium Chinese eggplants (about 10 to 11 ounces)
- For the Sauce:
- 4 1/2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
- 4 1/2 teaspoons light soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Chinese red-rice vinegar (or balsamic vinegar or red-wine vinegar)
- 1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine (or dry sherry)
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/3 cup chicken broth
- For the Pork:
- Pinch black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch
- 3 to 4 tablespoons ground pork (no more than 1/4 cup)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (or peanut oil)
- 2 teaspoons garlic (minced)
- 1 teaspoon ginger (minced)
- 1 green onion (white and green parts finely chopped)
- 1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce
- 1 tablespoon water
Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, this Szechuan eggplant is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for cooking.
Prepare the Eggplant
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
While waiting for the water to boil, prepare the eggplant. Cut the ends off the eggplant and then cut the eggplant in half crosswise. Cut each half lengthwise into quarters.
Line up the eggplant slices from left to right and cut diagonally into pieces approximately 3/4-inch thick.
Place the eggplant in the water and boil for 1 minute (start timing from the time the water returns to a boil).
Drain the eggplant on paper towels.
Make the Sauce
In a small bowl, combine dark and light soy sauces, vinegar, rice wine or dry sherry, sugar, and chicken broth.
Set the sauce aside.
Cook the Pork
In a separate small bowl, use your fingers to mix the black pepper and cornstarch into the ground pork. (The black pepper adds a bit of extra flavor and a small amount of cornstarch helps keep the ground pork from sticking).
Heat the wok over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil to the wok. When the oil is hot, add the garlic, ginger, and green onion.
Stir-fry for 10 seconds, then add the ground pork.
Stir in the chili garlic sauce.
Stir-fry until the pork turns white and is nearly cooked (about 1 minute), using a spatula to break the pork into small pieces.
Finish the Dish
Add the eggplant and stir for a minute to mix everything together. Give the sauce a quick re-stir and swirl it into the pan, stirring. Turn down the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the eggplant is tender.
In a small cup, mix the cornstarch and water. Add it in the middle of the pan, stirring quickly to thicken. Once thickened, the dish is done. Serve hot.
Instead of boiling the eggplant, you can stir-fry it before combining with the pork and other ingredients:
Heat the wok and add 3 tablespoons oil. When the oil is very hot, add the eggplant slices. Stir fry the eggplant for 2 to 3 minutes, until it begins to brown. Be sure to keep stirring the eggplant so that it doesn’t stick to the pan.
Press down on the eggplant to remove excess oil. Remove and drain on paper towels. Continue with the recipe.