Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

All you need are supermarket ingredients for eggplant and pork with black bean sauce, a sort of cousin to Chinese mapo eggplant.

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I almost didn’t make this dish from the Closet Cooking blog because I didn’t have all the ingredients, specifically fermented black beans, chili bean paste, fermented bean paste and Szechuan peppercorns. I could have driven to the Asian supermarket but didn’t want to add that 30-minute errand to my to-do list. So, I improvised with a jar of black bean sauce, sriracha and Thai chile sauce. Next time I’m at Penzey’s, I’ll buy some Szechuan peppercorns, but this time I went without. And you know what? It was delicious.

If you want to thicken and glossify the sauce, you could mix 1 tablespoon each of cornstarch and water to make a slurry and add that to the pan after the eggplant is cooked. I didn’t because the sauce looked fine to me.

You could definitely add more vegetables to the pan. Shiitake mushrooms, asparagus and broccoli all come to mind. You might have to increase the amount of broth to make sure you have enough liquid for a sauce.

This recipe makes about four servings. The leftovers are delicious. I served it over brown and wild rice that I tossed with sautéed shiitake and white mushrooms, onion and garlic. I found a fantastic recipe for Perfect Brown Rice on Saveur. They’re right, the rice comes out perfectly and it takes less time to make. I made a big pot of brown and wild rice (about a 4:1 ratio), cooled it down and then froze it in two-cup portions. Now I don’t have to resort to white rice when I don’t have time, as long as I keep my freezer stocked.

Eggplant and Pork with Black Bean Sauce | Grabbing the Gusto

Eggplant and Pork with Black Bean Sauce | Grabbing the Gusto

Eggplant and Pork with Black Bean Sauce

You’ll need large pan or skillet with a lid.

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons ginger, grated
  • 2 pounds eggplant, cut into bit sized pieces, leave the skin on
  • 3 tablespoons black bean sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sriracha
  • 2 tablespoons Thai chile sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 4 green onions, sliced

Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Add ground pork and sauté until cooked, about 5-7 minutes. If you wish, drain off the excess pork fat, and replace it with more canola oil. Add garlic and ginger, and sauté until fragrant, about a minute. Add eggplant, cover and cook for 5 minutes. It won’t be done yet, but it will have time to cook longer.

Mix in the black bean sauce, sriracha, chili sauce, soy sauce and chicken broth, bring to a simmer, reduce the heat, cover and cook until the eggplant is tender, about 15-20 minutes.

Remove from heat, and mix in the sesame oil and green onions.

Original recipe: Mapo Eggplant, Closet Cooking

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1 year ago on Gusto: Braised Chicken with Olives and Tomatoes

2 years ago on Gusto: Banana Bread

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