Sichaun-Braised Eggplant

July 23, 2015 • Posted in: Chinese, pork, Eggplant

When slow cooked, this eggplant meal takes on a really lovely, velvety texture. Serve on its own, with rice and steamed greens, or as part of a banquet. Make sure you get salt-reduced stock, otherwise it's salty as hell.

Ingredients

  • 80 ml (1/3 cup) peanut oil
  • 3 small eggplant, each cut into 8 wedges
  • 150 gm minced pork
  • 1 tbsp coarsely crushed Sichuan peppercornss
  • 25 gm ginger, coarsely chopped and pounded with a mortar and pestle to a paste
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbsp Chinese chilli bean paste
  • 100 ml chicken stock, salt-reduced
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) soy sauce
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) Chinkiang vinegar
  • To serve: coarsely chopped coriander, thinly sliced spring onions, prickly ash oil and steamed jasmine rice

Instructions

Preheat oven to 150C. Heat 50ml oil in a casserole dish over high heat. Brush eggplant with remaining oil and cook in batches, turning, until golden (3-5 minutes).

Add pork to pan and stir occasionally until cooked (3-5 minutes). Add peppercorns and stir until fragrant (1-2 minutes), then add ginger, garlic and chilli bean paste, and stir until colour deepens (1-2 minutes). Add stock, soy sauce and vinegar, and bring to the boil, then add eggplant, cover with a lid or foil and braise for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove cover and braise until eggplant is very tender (45 minutes to 1 hour).

Serve hot scattered with coriander and spring onions, dotted with prickly ash oil to taste, and with steamed rice to the side.

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 2 1/4 hours
Serves: 6

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