Sunday, May 15, 2011

Szechuan Eggplant with Pork

I've really been enjoying Ching-He Huang's Chinese Food Made Easy on Cooking Channel. Strangely, it seems to be the only Asian cooking show on cable. I tend to have Food Network on a lot during idle time, and I often end up eating dinner while watching it. I can only watch someone make tomato sauce so many times. It's refreshing to watch a new style of cooking. I was intrigued by Ching-He's Fragrant Pork, a Szechuan dish that sounded similar to one I used to order in San Francisco. This turned out fantastic! It's sweet, spicy, smoky, tangy, and garlicy. I tweaked the recipe a little--here is what I did:

Szechuan Eggplant with Pork

2 T canola oil
2 lbs (approx 2 small) eggplants, cut into 1/2 inch slices
.75-1 lb ground pork (or ground chicken or turkey)
2 t garlic, minced
2 t ginger, minced

1 cup chicken stock
2 T rice wine vinegar
3 T Chinese chili bean sauce
1 t sesame oil
4 green onions, chopped
1 t sugar or splenda
1 T cornstarch

Red pepper flakes or sambal oelek (optional, if you like it extra spicy like me)

Heat oil over high heat in a wok or large skillet. Fry the eggplant slices with just a splash of water, covered, until softened and golden on the outside, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a plate, and set aside.


Add the pork, garlic and ginger to the skillet. Cook, stirring frequently, until pork is cooked through and browned. Stir the sauce ingredients together and pour into skillet. Return eggplant to the pan and bring sauce to a simmer. Remove from heat. Garnish with green onions and serve with rice. Serves 4.

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