Braised Eggplant and Minced Pork

Eggplant and Pork 20160517 (1)

Plump, firm, bright purple in colour – ‘Eggplant’ as it is widely known here in America, commonly called ‘Aubergine’ in Europe, and liltingly called ‘Brinjal’ in my homeland in South-East Asia, is rather bitter when raw but easily absorbs flavours used in the cooking process. Its versatility is evidenced by its widespread use in varying cuisines around the world, using a range of preparation techniques. Here is one of my staple recipes using only a handful of ingredients that are easily found in my pantry. Asian eggplants which are elongated in shape are easily available here and is what I have used, cut into 2″ x ½” strips. If using oval-shaped ones, they can be cut into semi-circular pieces, ½” cubes or any shape that is easy to eat. Braising allows the eggplant to slowly soak up the sauces, giving it a complex, rich taste.

Ingredients
2 medium-sized eggplants, cut into 2″ x ½” strips
½ lb minced pork
5 shiitake mushrooms, sliced
4 cloves garlic, mincedEggplant and Pork 20160517 (3)
Cilantro, to garnish

Sauce
4 tablespoons Chinese rice wine (Shaoxing) or dry sherry
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoon black vinegar
2 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon pepper

 

Instructions
1. Prepare sauce and mix well. Set aside.
2. Heat a little oil in a wok. Add pork into hot oil, breaking up the pieces Eggplant and Pork 20160517 (2)constantly to prevent clumping.
3. When pork is half-cooked, add a little more oil and reduce the heat.
4. Add garlic and eggplant. Cook till eggplant starts to wilt at the edges, about 2-3 minutes.
5. Add mushrooms and cook for 1 minute.
6. Add sauce and bring it to a boil, stirring to coat eggplant in the sauce. A little water (no more than ½ cup)  may be added if sauce is insufficient.
7. Reduce heat to a medium simmer and cover till eggplant is fully cooked and sauce has mostly been absorbed.
8. Garnish with cilantro.

Serves 4

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Pan-fried asian eggplant

This a quick and easy one that also meets my daily quota of coloured vegetables.
Tips: I found that using my fingers worked better at getting the seasoning into the eggplant, especially over the rounded, skinned surfaces.
Avoid making the slices too thin, some thickness is needed to get into the ‘meat’ of the eggplant when cooked.

2 Asian eggplants, sliced lengthwise 2″ long, ¼” thick
minced garlic
freshly ground black pepper
salt
2-3 tbsp olive oil

Serves 4

Season eggplant well in garlic, black pepper and oil.
Pan-fry over medium heat in a just a little oil to prevent sticking, allowing to char slightly.
Remove when both sides are charred to your liking.

This is very similar the Filipino Pritong Talong. You can add savoury dip that can be found in the recipe in related post below.

Related posts:

Eggplant with coconut milk

2 eggplants, cut into 1″ thick
1 chicken breast, cubed
2 carrots, cubed
1 shallot, sliced
5 tbsp coconut milk

2 tbsp sherry
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
salt & pepper
cooking oil

Serves 3

Marinate chicken in sherry, cornstarch, soy sauce, sesame oil, salt & pepper.

Heat cooking oil. Add shallots. Fry till fragrant.
Add chicken. Fry till partially cooked.
Add carrots. Cover for about 1 minute.
Add eggplant. Cook till eggplant starts to soften.
Add coconut milk. Stir well, then lower heat and cover, simmering till carrots and eggplant are cooked to the right softness.

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