Fried Eggplant With Pork & Fermented Tofu

September 16, 2019
3 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten. Food Stylist: Samantha Seneviratne. Prop Stylist: Sophie Strangio.
  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Serves 4 to 6
Author Notes

A take on my mother’s yu xiang qie zi, or “fish-fragrant” eggplant.

For more stories, memories, and extended histories behind your most-loved, treasured family recipes from the column, check out our new podcast My Family Recipe.Jenny Dorsey

Test Kitchen Notes

Featured in: I’m Chinese, but It Took Me 28 Years to Buy My First Wok. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • Pressure-cooked pig ears
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 22 grams (6 cloves) garlic, smashed
  • 1 Thai bird's eye chile, sliced lengthwise (optional)
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, sliced
  • 100 grams shiitake mushrooms, caps only, sliced
  • 18 grams ginger, sliced
  • 17 grams cilantro, chopped
  • 50 grams Chinese celery, chopped (regular celery works, too)
  • 20 grams sweet white miso
  • 1 1/2 pounds (3 large) pig ears
  • 1/4 cup quality soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 1 teaspoon black vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted chicken or pork stock
  • Wok-fried eggplant & fermented tofu sauce
  • 2 pounds Chinese or Japanese eggplant, chopped into 2 1/2–inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 2 cups canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 25 grams (8 cloves) garlic, minced
  • 1/2 gram small yellow onion, minced
  • 1 Thai bird's eye chile, sliced lengthwise
  • 12 grams (1 tablespoon) ginger, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
  • 55 grams (2 tablespoons) fermented tofu curd—I use Sze Schuan brand
  • 55 grams (2 tablespoons) soybean paste—I use Healthy Boy brand
  • 33 grams (1 tablespoon) shrimp paste—I use Super brand
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 15 grams (1 tablespoon) palm sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 4 grams (1 tablespoon) green Sichuan peppercorn
  • 3 grams (1 tablespoon) coriander seeds
  • 1 gram (1 pod) star anise
  • 1 gram (1 teaspoon) ground urfa pepper
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1 tablespoon quality soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons black vinegar
  • 20 grams (2 tablespoons) culantro (not cilantro!!), minced
  1. Pressure-cooked pig ears
  2. In an electric pressure cooker (such as the Instant Pot), heat vegetable oil on the "Sauté" function 1 minute. Add garlic, chile, onion, shiitake, ginger and sauté 5 minutes. Add cilantro, celery, and miso and mix thoroughly, sautéing another 2 to 3 minutes. Turn off "Sauté" function.
  3. Add pig ears, soy sauce, mirin, and black vinegar, and stock and mix thoroughly. Switch to "Pressure Cook" function and cook on high pressure 1 hour.
  4. After 1 hour, natural-release the pressure completely, uncover, then turn on the "Sauté" function again. Let liquid reduce by half.
  5. Turn off pressure cooker and carefully remove pig ears from liquid. Let cool 5 minutes, scraping off excess ingredients. Mince and set aside for later.
  1. Wok-fried eggplant & fermented tofu sauce
  2. Prepare the eggplant: Sprinkle salt on eggplant and let sit 20 minutes. Press eggplant with paper towels to remove all excess water.
  3. Heat canola oil in a wok over high heat until oil temperature reaches 375°F. Reduce heat to medium. Add eggplant and fry until white flesh is nicely browned and purple exterior is crisp, roughly 5 to 8 minutes. Remove eggplant from oil and drain on paper towels.
  4. Remove excess oil from wok. Wipe dry with paper towels.
  5. Make the fermented tofu sauce: Heat peanut oil over medium heat until slick and shiny. Add garlic, onion, bird’s eye chile and ginger with a dash of salt. Reduce heat to low and sauté 15 minutes.
  6. Turn heat to high. Add minced, reserved pig ears to wok with a dash of salt. Cook 3 minutes. Deglaze pan with Shaoxing wine and reduce until nearly dry. Add tofu curd, soybean paste, shrimp paste, palm sugar, and white pepper and sauté another 3 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, grind Sichuan peppercorn, coriander, star anise, and urfa pepper in spice grinder until coarsely ground. Add to pork mixture and cook 1 minute. Remove from wok and set aside until ready to assemble.
  8. To assemble the final dish, heat empty wok on high heat until smoking. This next part's a quick dance (you ready?): Add peanut oil and heat 1 minute. Add eggplant and stir-fry 30 seconds. Add soy sauce to edges of wok, letting it caramelize and cook with eggplant 30 seconds. Add fermented tofu sauce and stir-fry 3 to 5 minutes. Add black vinegar to edges of wok, letting it caramelize and cook with eggplant 30 seconds. Remove wok from heat. Stir in culantro and serve.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

0 Reviews