Garlicky and subtly sweet, the heat in this Chinese chili garlic eggplant dish can be adjusted to suit your level of tolerance for spiciness. But don’t ditch the chili altogether; if you do, the dish will be bland despite the generous amount of garlic in it.
Choose Asian eggplants for this dish—the long narrow ones. They are sweeter than the round varieties. There is no bitterness in them either.
Prep time is five minutes; cooking time is ten minutes. Imagine sitting down to a wonderful meal after laboring in the kitchen for no more than 15 minutes? And you only need one cooking pan so clean-up is fairly easy as well.
Chinese Chili Garlic Eggplant
- 2 to 3 Asian eggplants
- 3 tablespoons cooking oil
- 200 grams ground pork (with at least 20% fat)
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 heaping teaspoon chili oil (I used Lee Kum Kee) with all the chili bits you can manage to scoop with the teaspoon
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 cup good-quality broth
- salt if your broth is unsalted
- drizzle sesame seed oil
- Sliced scallions to garnish
- Cut off the tops of the eggplants and discard. Split each one lengthwise then cut each piece diagonally into half-inch slices.
- Heat the cooking oil in a wok or frying pan. Stir fry the eggplants just until the edges start to brown, about two to three minutes. Keep them moving to avoid scorching. You are not cooking them through at this point; you're just adding texture so they don't get soggy later. Scoop out and move to a plate.
- Reheat the pan and spread the ground pork. Over high heat, cook for a minute without disturbing. When browned on the underside, scoop and flip. Cook for another half a minute.
- Add the garlic and stir fry for a minute.
- Pour in the soy sauce and chili oil. Sprinkle in the sugar. Stir fry for about 30 seconds.
- Throw in the browned eggplants.
- Pour in the broth. Stir and continue cooking over high heat for another two to three minutes until the eggplants are done and the sauce has been reduced to a couple of tablespoonfuls.
- Turn off the heat. Taste the sauce and add salt, if needed. Stir.
- Drizzle in a little sesame seed oil and stir once more.
- Sprinkle the Chinese chili garlic eggplant with sliced scallions and serve.