Ma Po Eggplant
- 1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon fermented black beans
- 1 half-inch knob ginger
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 shallots
- 3 large Asian eggplants
- 4 tablespoons cooking oil
- ¼ kilogram ground pork
- 1 tablespoon chili bean paste
- ½ teaspoon chili flakes
- ¼ cup Shao Xing rice wine
- ¾ cup broth
- 2 tablespoons corn starch
- 6 scallions, cut into half-inch lengths
- few stalks cilantro
- Toast the Sichuan peppercorns in an oil-free pan then grind (with a mortar and pestle or an electric grinder).
- Drain the fermented black beans, rinse, drain again then pound.
- Peel and mince the ginger and garlic.
- Peel and chop the shallots.
- Cut the eggplants into one-inch cubes.
- Heat the cooking oil. Add the ground pork and, over high heat, cook until the meat changes color.
- Add the ground Sichuan peppercorns and black beans and cook until fragrant, about a minute.
- Add the garlic, ginger, shallots, chili bean paste and chili flakes. Pour in the Shao Xing rice wine. Bring to the boil.
- Stir in the eggplant cubes.
- Stir the corn starch into the broth and pour into the pan. Continue cooking, stirring often, until the sauce clears and thickens.
- Lower the heat, cover the pan and cook until the eggplants are done, about 10 to 12 minutes.
- Taste. Add salt, if needed.
- Transfer the cooked Ma Po eggplant to a serving bowl or platter, sprinkle the sliced scallions on top followed by the cilantro, and serve immediately.
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