Monday, June 27, 2016

Eggplant & Pork in Oyster Sauce

Eggplant & Pork in Oyster Sauce
For a quick and easy main dish with an Asian flair, few dishes can beat this eggplant and pork stir-fry. A combination of oyster sauce, chili-garlic sauce, balsamic vinegar and fish sauce form the base for ground pork that is browned along with diced onions and garlic. Bite-sized pieces of Japanese eggplant are added at the tail end so that they retain their texture and don't disintegrate.

Chinese and Thai restaurants have a form of this recipe on their menus. My problem is that they always seem to over-salt the dish, so I prefer to replicate it at home so I can control the amount of salt that is added. In fact, no salt was added in this recipe because the different sauces are salty to begin with. Adjust the salt at the end of the cooking cycle to suit your taste.

A trick to break down the ground pork with little effort is to hand-mix it with 1/2 tsp. salt and 2 Tbsp. oil and set aside for 15 minutes. The oil acts to separate the nodules of ground meat which makes it easier to brown.

1 lb. ground pork, marinated with 1/2 tsp. salt and 2 Tbsp. oil for 15 minutes
2 Japanese eggplant cut in bite-sized cubes
3 medium onions, diced
6-8 cloves of garlic, minced
4 Tbsp. dark roasted sesame oil
2 Tbsp. soya sauce
4 Tbsp. oyster sauce
1 tsp. chili-garlic sauce or to taste
1 Tbsp. dark balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp. fish sauce
1 tsp. plum sauce or brown sugar
3-4 stalks green onion, diced

  1. Mix oyster, chili-garlic, fish and plum sauces with balsamic vinegar and set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, add onions and garlic and stir-fry until onions turn translucent.
  3. Add ground pork, stir well with onions and stir-fry until brown and the oil resurfaces.
  4. Add soya sauce and stir into contents of skillet.
  5. Lower heat to medium, add eggplant to skillet along with prepared sauce from step 1, stir well, cover and simmer until eggplant is cooked but still whole.
  6. Adjust salt to taste, if necessary, and garnish with green onions before serving with steamed basmati or jasmine rice.

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