Eggplant in Spicy Garlic Meat Sauce

This recipe pairs Japanese eggplant with ground pork and oriental spices to make an absolutely delicious “hot and spicy” eggplant dish. While looking through my recipe files for eggplant dishes, I found a strikingly large number of recipes which combined eggplant with pork and occasionally pasta. I’ve never thought of putting these ingredients together and decided to give the recipe a try. Well, we loved the oriental-style concoction and promptly ate it all.

Growing Eggplant in a Louisiana Garden

Eggplant is easy to grow here in the hot environment of a Louisiana garden. Eggplant likes a sunny, well drained location and you don’t need to do much else. Eggplant grows in many different shapes and colors ranging from white to variegated colors to deep purple. Japanese eggplant are long and slender ones and tend to be green or purple.

There are large oblong, purple varieties (American eggplant), smaller, dark purple globe eggplant (Italian eggplant), and squat, light purple eggplant (Indian eggplant). I planted several seedlings of all of these! This was a great recipe to make with my harvest of Japanese eggplant.

It is interesting to watch eggplant grow in a garden — sort of magical. Eggplant develop from dainty pink flowers on the “plant” which remind me of fairies.

Then the eggplant develop, hanging downwards. Eventually, the eggplant grow large enough to harvest.

Recipe

This recipe is one that I’ve saved in my recipes files for years. I think that it came from my younger brother when he was in graduate school and mailed me all kinds of recipes, but he doesn’t recall that fact. I guess it doesn’t matter any longer.

In this recipe, the Japanese eggplant are sliced crosswise. No need to peel them. Use a wok or heavy skillet for this recipe. Saute the fresh ginger, scallions (optional) and garlic until aromatic in the hot skillet. Then add ground pork (along with soy sauce, sugar, and cornstarch) and brown the pork. Remove the pork and cook the eggplant slices. Then add back the pork along with broth, soy sauce, a little sugar and sesame oil. This simmers on the stove until the eggplant is tender. Cornstarch thickens the mixture. I used chili oil to add “hot” to the dish, the recipe uses chili paste. Either one works.

If you don’t have Japanese eggplant, then cut a large oblong eggplant into lengthwise slices, then crosswise slices. And I varied amount of ground pork in the recipe. The pork is really just a seasoning for the eggplant, but I got carried away and added much more pork than the original recipe called for.

Serve this dish with rice. Enjoy the recipe for this oriental-take on eggplant!

Eggplant in Spicy Garlic Meat Sauce

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 lb lean ground pork (may increase to 3/4 pound, if desired)
  • 1 Tbsp plus 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch, divided
  • 1 small, narrow Japanese eggplant or 1 small regular eggplant
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil, divided
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 scallion, minced (optional)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 Tbsp chili paste (or substitute 2 tsp sesame chili oil)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 2 tsp Asian sesame oil (or sesame chili oil)
  • cooked rice
  • 1 green onions, sliced, garnish (optional)

Method and Steps:

  1. In a small bowl, combine ground pork with 2 tsp soy sauce and 1 tsp cornstarch. Blend well. Set aside.
  2. Cut unpeeled eggplant crosswise on a diagonal into 1/2-inch thick slices. (If using regular eggplant, cut lengthwise in half first and then in quarters.)
  3. In a wok or heavy, large skillet, bring 2 tsp of vegetable oil to smoking point over medium heat. Add ginger, scallion (optional) and garlic. Stir-fry until aromatic, about 30 seconds.
  4. Add pork and stir-fry until pork loses its pink color, about 3 minutes. Remove to a plate.
  5. Add remaining vegetable oil to wok and heat to smoking. Add eggplant and stir-fry over medium-high heat, tossing, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
  6. Return pork to wok. Add chicken broth, chili paste (if using), sugar and remaining 1 Tbsp soy sauce. Bring to a boil, stirring to mix. Reduce heat and cook until eggplant is tender, about 10 minutes.
  7. In a small bowl, blend remaining 2 tsp cornstarch with 1/2 cup cold water. Add to wok, bring to a boil, and cook, stirring, until sauce thickens, 1 to 2 minutes.
  8. Remove from heat. Drizzle with sesame oil (or sesame chili oil.)
  9. Top with sliced green onions (optional).
  10. Serve with cooked rice.

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