One of my favourite Chinese dishes has to be mapo tofu for its use of not only the chili heat and numbing Sichuan peppercorn combo but also for its use of another great Chinese ingredient, fermented black beans. Mapo tofu or mapo doufu is a dish where tofu and ground pork are served in a tasty chili and bean sauce but I was thinking that it would be nice to try replacing the tofu with eggplant and braising it in the sauce until it was nice and tender. This dish includes a few ingredients that may not be in every pantry but it is well worth the effort to track them down. If you cannot find the dried fermented black beans you can replace them and the garlic with black bean and garlic sauce which is more commonly available in the Asian section of grocery stores along with the fermented bean paste. I served the mapo eggplant on noodles, which are said to be lucky on the lunar New Year, garnished with green onions along with shredded cucumber to tame the heat of the dish.
Happy Lunar New Year!
A tasty mapo tofu style dish with the tofu replaced with tender and creamy eggplant.
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1/2 pound ground pork
- 2 tablespoons garlic, chopped
- 2 tablespoons ginger, grated
- 1 tablespoon fermented black beans, soaked in water for 20 minutes and chopped
- 2 pounds eggplant, cut into bit sized pieces
- 2 tablespoons chili bean paste
- 2 tablespoons fermented bean paste
- 1 tablespoon chili sauce, or to taste
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns, toasted and ground
- 1 bunch green onions, sliced
- Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat.
- Add the ground pork and saute until cooked, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add the garlic, ginger, black beans, and saute until fragrant, about a minute.
- Add the eggplant and saute for 5 minutes.
- Mix in the chili bean paste, fermented bean paste, 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.
- Mix the cornstarch into the water, mix it into the pan and cook until the sauce thickens, about a minute.
- Remove from heat, mix in the sesame oil and Sichuan peppercorns and serve garnished with green onions.