If you've done your prep work, this recipe (and dinner) will be done in under ten minutes—and the kitchen will stay cool. Don't worry too much about getting every step right down to the second—consider the timing flexible. It will take practice to get the rhythm down. Young told me, “If you’re new to stir-frying it helps to have someone 'conducting' or reading you the instructions and monitoring the cooking time as you stir-fry.” Young would serve this with rice and a smashed cucumber salad dressed with minced garlic, sugar, soy sauce, rice vinegar, salt, and cilantro. Recipe adapted slightly from Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge (Simon & Schuster, 2010). —Genius Recipes
4 as a vegetable side dish, 2 as a main dish
ground pork (about 2 ounces)
plus 1/4 cup minced scallions, divided
plus 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce, divided
plus 1/4 cup peanut or vegetable oil, divided
chopped garlic, plus 2 medium garlic cloves, peeled and lightly smashed, divided
medium Asian eggplants (about 1 pound), halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices (about 6 cups)
In a small bowl combine the pork and 1 teaspoon cold water. Stir in 2 teaspoons of the scallions, 1 teaspoon of the soy sauce, and ginger. Add 1 teaspoon cold water and stir until the pork absorbs all of the water. In another small bowl combine the remaining 3 tablespoons soy sauce and 1/4 cup cold water.
Heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok or 12-inch stainless steel skillet over high heat until a bead of water vaporizes within 1 to 2 seconds of contact. Swirl in 1 teaspoon of the oil and add the pork mixture, using a metal spatula break up the pork. Stir-fry 30 seconds, or until the pork is opaque but slightly rare. Transfer the pork to a plate.
Swirl in the remaining 1/4 cup oil and heat for a few seconds or until hot but not smoking. Carefully, add 1 tablespoon of the chopped garlic and stir-fry 10 seconds, or until the garlic is fragrant. Add the eggplant and stir-fry 2 minutes, or until the eggplant flesh has changed color and has absorbed all the oil. Swirl the rice wine into the wok, immediately cover the wok, reduce heat to medium, and cook for 30 seconds. Uncover and sprinkle on the sugar. Swirl the soy sauce-water mixture into the wok, increase the heat to high, and stir-fry 1 minute. Return the pork to the wok. Cover and cook 2 minutes or until almost all the liquid has been absorbed by the eggplant and the eggplant is just tender when pierced with a knife. Uncover, and stir-fry 15 seconds. Stir in the remaining 2 smashed garlic cloves. Cover, remove the wok from the heat, and set aside for 1 minute, or until the pork is just cooked through. Remove the garlic cloves for serving if you like and sprinkle on the remaining 1/4 cup scallions. Serve warm, room temperature, or even cold.
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