Chinese Aubergine

This is a very simple and economical dish. The addition of garlic and ginger turn this humble ingredient into a spectacular dish. A very small amount of meat goes a long way.
The addition of Corn Starch, makes the aubergine very dark and crispy.

INGREDIENTS
225 Gr. Ground pork – You can also use chicken
1 Tablespoon Chilli Garlic Sauce, if not you can also use Red Bean Sauce
1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
1 Tablespoon Chinese Cooking wine
1 Tablespoon Sugar – (I use brown sugar or sugarcane)
2 Tablespoons Vegetable oil
1 Large Aubergine (2 Chinese Aubergines if you can find)
1 Tablespoon Corn Starch
2 Garlic Cloves finely chopped
1 2cm Ginger finely chopped
1 Large Scallion finely chopped
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
1 Tablespoon Sesame Oil
1 Tablespoon Sriracha sauce or 1 Tablespoon Sambal Oelek
1 Tablespoon Chinese Cooking wine
4 Tablespoons Water
1 Teaspoon Cornstarch

METHOD

This is a wonderful addition for Chinese cooking.

First, prepare the eggplants by slicing them in large pieces (they will shrink considerably during the cooking) as per picture and place in a bowl. Add the cornstarch and mix well, so all the aubergine pieces are covered.
Let the aubergine rest for 10 minutes.
Prepare the 2 sauces for the dish – 1 for the meat mixture and the other one for the final sauce.
In a small bowl – mix the Chilli Garlic Sauce, Soy sauce, cooking wine and the brown sugar. Set aside
For the final sauce – In a small bowl, mix the soy sauce, sesame oil, sriracha or Sambal Oelek, water and a teaspoon of cornstarch, mix well and ensure there are no lumps in the sauce. Set aside.
Now that your mise-en-place (set-up) is done, you can start the cooking.

For the meat part, start by heating your wok, until it starts to smoke. Add the vegetable oil and when the oil starts to smoke, add the ground pork. Cook for a few minutes, until the meat separates and changes colour. Add the Chilli garlic sauce, soy sauce, cooking wine, sugar and mix well. Transfer the meat to a small bowl and set aside.
Rinse your wok and then put it back on the heat. When it starts to smoke, add the vegetable oil and stir in the aubergines. I leave them in place for a few minutes, until they start to brown, slowly move them around and turn them so all sides are brown. The process takes about 7-8 minutes.
The heat should be at medium, hot enough for the aubergine to darken but still cook inside.
Once the aubergines are browned on all sides, add the garlic and ginger mixture and saute for about 1-2 minutes.
Add the meat mixture and mix well. Add the final sauce and mix well. The addition of cornstarch will thicken the sauce rapidly, so you have to move fast. Mix well and pour in a serving bowl.
Garnish with chopped scallions or cilantro or sesame seeds.

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