Grace Young's Stir-Fried Garlic Eggplant with Pork

By Genius Recipes
August 3, 2016
7 Comments


Author Notes: 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

Serves: 4 as a vegetable side dish, 2 as a main dish

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup ground pork (about 2 ounces)
  • 2 teaspoons plus 1/4 cup minced scallions, divided
  • 1 teaspoon plus 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon plus 1/4 cup peanut or vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic, plus 2 medium garlic cloves, peeled and lightly smashed, divided
  • 3 medium Asian eggplants (about 1 pound), halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices (about 6 cups)
  • 1/4 cup Shao Hsing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar

Directions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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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Reviews (7) Questions (0)

7 Comments

Adrienne October 10, 2017
I saw this in a recent 30 min meal roundup and was a bit intimidated by the timing since I'd be cooking solo. I prepped everything in advance and, white it was far from seamless execution, It turned out deliciously! I paired mine with white rice and cucumber salad as well! Going to try an egg with the leftovers.
 
Morgan M. October 4, 2016
Want to make it extra great? After adding the garlic in the last step, crack an egg or two in and stir it over low heat. Adds a whole new amazing dimension.
 
melissa August 19, 2016
just made this! i have to say, it was a lot of work both in mise-en-place and in cooking. (i had my partner read me the directions while i cooked, because things moved so fast.) nevertheless, the recipe turned out GREAT -- ingredients were proportioned perfectly. i used a regular eggplant instead of asian ones, and it turned out fine. i also took the suggestion in the headnote of the smashed cucumber salad (i used the one in lucky peach's 101 easy asian recipes).
 
BubbaQ August 5, 2016
The male/female eggplant thing is a myth
 
Natalie R. August 5, 2016
Thank you! I looked it up to see why so many people swear by that myth, and I discovered that there are loads associated with eggplants. Weird. Still (and again), thanks for speaking up!
 
Natalie R. August 4, 2016
Made this to eat solely as leftovers. Wonderful technique! I used 80% lean ground lamb in place of pork because the store was selling 2 oz unseasoned patties for $1. I think it went well with the flavors of the dish. Italian eggplants are okay because of the sweet ingredients, but I recommend getting a male eggplant to avoid seeds. Look at the bottom, if it dimples inward, the eggplant is female. The recipe reheats extremely well, also. I ended up crisping the meat by cooking it for 1 minute instead of 30 seconds, and it didn't make it too dry. In fact, I think it added flavor! But It would have burned before it cooked through without the blended water. Please follow this recipe as closely as possible for success. NEVER prep while stir frying! Do it before!
 
Kristen M. August 5, 2016
Thanks for your comments, Natalie—really helpful! So glad you liked the recipe, and lamb sounds like a fantastic sub.