10-minute Chili Garlic Eggplant
Inspired by a dish I enjoyed at Din Tai Fung, this 10-minute pork and eggplant dish is cooked with five-spice powder, Sichuan pepper, garlic, ginger and chilies.
- 250 grams ground pork
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground Sichuan peppercorns (see notes after the recipe)
- ½ teaspoon five-spice powder
- ¼ teaspoon grated ginger
- ½ teaspoon grated garlic
- 1 tablespoon grated onion
- ½ teaspoon pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 3 eggplants
- ¼ cup cooking oil
- 2 teaspoons tapioca starch or potato or corn starch
- 1 cup bone broth or water although the dish won't taste as rich
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce (you may need more)
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- ½ teaspoon sesame seed oil
- toasted sesame seeds
- In a mixing bowl, mix together the ground pork, salt, ground Sichuan peppercorns, five-spice powder, grated ginger, garlic and onion, pepper flakes, oyster sauce and sugar. Set aside.
- Cut the eggplants into halves vertically, then cut each half into two to three equal portions.
- Heat the cooking oil in a frying pan.
- Fry the eggplants on both sides just until done (see notes after the recipe).
- Scoop out the eggplants and lay on a plate lined with paper towels.
- Pour off the oil from the pan leaving only a tablespoonful.
- Reheat the oil and spread the ground pork mixture on the entire bottom of the pan.
- Cook the ground pork until well browned.
- Stir together the starch, broth, soy sauce and sesame seed oil.
- Pour the starch mixture into the browned pork and cook until the sauce is thick and clear.
- Taste the sauce. If too bland for you, drizzle in a tablespoon or so of soy sauce.
- Arrange eggplants on a plate and spoon the ground pork over them.
- Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and serve at once.
To release the aroma and flavor of Sichuan peppercorns, toast them in an oil-free pan before grinding. Eggplants continue to cook in the residual heat after they are taken off the pan. Be careful to scoop them out of the oil before they turn mushy.