One of my favorite Sichuan dishes, my version of Chinese eggplant with minced pork is easy to make, and packs a ton of spicy, umami flavor. Serve it on a bed of white rice for a cozy weeknight meal.
Growing up, I had a lot of Vietnamese dishes and Cantonese dishes, but I never had something like this Chinese eggplant dish until I got to college. I have to come to love Chinese eggplant dishes. What makes this one super special is the sauce. It has a spicy, umami sauce whose flavor comes from doubanjiang, a spicy bean sauce.
What is doubanjiang?
Doubanjiang is a spicy bean sauce used in Chinese cooking, specifically Sichuan cooking. It is made from fermented soybeans, broad beans, and chiles. It is widely used in Sichuan dishes and is how many of their dishes get their red color. Taste-wise, it is spicy, umami, and salty. Personally, I have fallen in love with this ingredient. It makes food taste so good!
Ingredients, Substitutions & Adjustments
Chinese Eggplant with Minced Pork
- Chinese eggplants – I used 2 large Chinese eggplants for this dish, but I tested this with Japanese eggplant as well. Both work for this recipe.
- Rice wine vinegar – This is used to season the eggplant before cooking. Submerge the eggplant in a bowl of water and rice wine vinegar. You can also do this with a teaspoon of salt or white vinegar.
- Ground pork – I used ground pork for this recipe because its sweetness balances about the umami flavors from the salt. If you really like pork, feel free to use more, or if you want to use less, use less. This dish can also be done with ground chicken or ground turkey.
- Salt and pepper for seasoning
- Shaoxing wine – This is a super important ingredient in this dish. I tried making this dish without it, and it did not taste the same. Shaoxing wine is a rice wine that is used to flavor food as well as camouflage the inherit gross flavors in meat. Substitute with dry sherry.
- Garlic – Adds more flavor to the dish
- Ginger – Adds more flavor to the dish
- Chili flakes – Traditionally, this dish is made with Sichuan chili peppers, but I did not have any, so I substituted with chili flakes. For better flavor, use Sichuan chilis or Fresno red chilis.
- Corn starch – Cornstarch and water create a cornstarch slurry to make the dish saucy and thick. Substitute cornstarch with all purpose flour or tapioca starch.
- Green onions – Adds some freshness to the dish.
- Soy sauce – Adds umami flavor to the sauce. Substitute with tamari.
- Oyster sauce – Adds umami flavor to the sauce.
- Doubanjiang – A spicy bean sauce used that adds salty, spicy, and umami flavors to the sauce. It also gives the dish it’s red color.
- Sesame oil – Adds more flavor to the sauce. If you don’t have sesame oil, don’t use it.
- Granulated sugar – Adds a little bit of sweetness to the dish to balance out the umami flavors. Substitute with light brown sugar.
How to make this Chinese eggplant with minced pork
First, prep the eggplant. Soak eggplants in water and 1 tsp vinegar for 15 minutes. Next, combine all the ingredients for the sauce and set aside. Cook the eggplant over high heat until light brown (2-3 minutes). Use 1-2 tbsp of oil to cook the eggplant, and cook in batches if needed. Set aside. Season the pork with salt, pepper, and shaoxing wine. Brown the pork over high heat and set aside. Combine garlic, ginger, and chili flakes in the pan and saute over high heat until fragrant (1-2 minutes). Add the pork, eggplant, and sauce. Mix until combined. Mix corn starch and water and add to the pan. Cook for 30 seconds. Garnish with green onions and serve.
Tips on how to make the perfect Chinese eggplant with minced pork
Prepping Chinese eggplant properly
It is really important to prep the eggplant properly. I used a combination of rice wine vinegar and water to add moisture to the eggplant and take away some of the bitter taste. You can also do this with salt and water if you don’t have vinegar.
Cooking Chinese eggplant properly
The next most important thing is to cook the eggplant with enough oil. Eggplant is like a sponge, and readily absorbs oil which helps make it the perfect tender texture. I cooked my eggplant in batches and used ~1 tbsp of oil each time to try to minimize the amount of oil in the dish. You can use up to 2 tbsp. Be careful to not use too much as the eggplant will become soggy.
Use high heat to cook this dish
This is essentially a stir fry, so make sure to use high heat to cook your dish. Like I mentioned in various stir fry dishes (see my red bean curd stir fry or my mapo tofu), using high heat prevents your dish from becoming soggy. Every ingredient has water in it, and cooking on low heat causes the water to come out and pool in the sauce.
What can you serve with Chinese eggplant with minced pork?
This dish is best served with white rice. Other good options are any other kinds of rice like red or brown rice.
How do you store Chinese eggplant with minced pork?
Store this dish in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the fridge and up to 3 months in the freezer.
Did you make this dish?
If you made this dish, I would love to see!
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Easy Chinese Eggplant with Minced Pork
Chinese Eggplant with Minced Pork
- Soak eggplants in water and 1 tsp vinegar for 15 minutes.
- Combine all the ingredients for the sauce and set aside.
- Cook the eggplant over high heat until light brown (2-3 minutes). Use 1-2 tbsp of oil to cook the eggplant, and cook in batches if needed. Set aside.
- Season the pork with salt, pepper, and shaoxing wine. Brown the pork over high heat and set aside.
- Combine garlic, ginger, and chili flakes in the pan and saute over high heat until fragrant (1-2 minutes).
- Add the pork, eggplant, and sauce. Mix until combined.
- Mix corn starch and water and add to the pan. Cook for 30 seconds until well combined.
- Garnish with green onions and serve.
- Chinese eggplant substitute. Substitute Chinese eggplants with Japanese eggplants.
- Rice wine vinegar substitute. Substitute rice wine vinegar with distilled white vinegar or 1/2 tsp salt.
- Chili flake substitute. Substitute chili flakes with fresh red chilis or Sichuan chilis for better flavor.
- Soy sauce substitute. Substitute soy sauce with tamari.
- Cooking eggplant properly. Eggplant is like a sponge, and readily absorbs the oil which helps make it the perfect tender texture. I cooked my eggplant in batches and used ~1 tbsp of oil each time to try to minimize the amount of oil in the dish. You can use up to 2 tbsp. Be careful to not use too much as the eggplant will become soggy.