Mapo EggplantJump to Recipe
If you love mapo tofu, get ready for something just as delicious. A little spicy, savoury and fragrant, Mapo Eggplant is a quick and easy recipe for any night if you want a hearty and healthy Chinese dish.
What is Mapo Eggplant?
Mapo Eggplant is a delicious stir-fry dish featuring Chinese long eggplants with ground pork and a bold sauce. It is essentially like the more well-known Sichuan dish, Mapo Tofu, but it uses eggplant instead.
Although it is a traditional Chinese dish, Japan has their version. The introduction of mass-produced Chinese sauces to Japanese grocery shelves in the 1980s caused a boom in Chinese-Japanese cooking. The key difference between the two versions is that Japanese Mapo Eggplant is less spicy and uses miso to create a more familiar taste that suits the Japanese palate.
Just like regular mapo tofu, you can easily adapt this recipe to be vegetarian by omitting the ground pork. You can also replace the ground pork with mushrooms instead!
A crucial ingredient in the mapo sauce is doubanjiang, which is a spicy fermented bean paste. It has a strong fermented taste that is very salty and spicy which is what makes mapo sauce so delicious. You will most likely find it at your local Asian supermarket or some mainstream grocery stores may carry it in their Asian aisle.
Mapo dishes are not the only dishes that use doubanjiang. Spice up any stir fry dish with it. Just remember that it is spicy and very salty, so start off with a small spoonful when experimenting with it.
More notable recipes that use doubanjiang include Dan Dan noodles, twice-cooked pork, beef noodle soup and braised fish with chilli paste.
Mapo Eggplant Recipe
- 3 Chinese eggplant
- 4 stalks green onion
- 8 oz ground pork
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1-inch knob ginger
- 1½ - 2 tbsp doubanjiang (spicy fermented black bean)
- 1 tbsp Shaoxing cooking wine
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 tbsp chilli oil
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 2 tbsp water
- Begin by prepping all the ingredients for the recipe. Rinse off the eggplants and green onions. Pat everything dry. Then peel the garlic and ginger.
- Chop off the head of each eggplant and then cut them into bite-sized pieces.
- Remove the ends of the green onions and then slice thinly. Set a small portion aside for garnish later. Mince both the garlic and ginger.
- After, season the ground pork with 1 teaspoon of sesame oil, 1 teaspoon of cornstarch and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and let it sit for 5 minutes.
- Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil to a large pan and heat over medium heat.
- Once hot, add in the seasoned ground pork and cook for 30 seconds before adding in the doubanjiang. Cook for another 1 to 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Then, add in the minced garlic, minced ginger and green onions. Mix everything together and continue cooking for another 30 seconds.
- When everything becomes fragrant, pour in the Shaoxing cooking wine and stir it in.
- After, add in the eggplant, chicken stock, chilli oil, soy sauce and sugar. Stir everything together, covering the eggplant pieces in the sauce. Bring everything to a gentle simmer and then cover the pan.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and let it simmer for 7 minutes or until everything is cooked through. If you prefer your eggplant to have a softer texture, cook it longer. You can check by carefully tasting a piece.
- While it is simmering, create your cornstarch slurry. Combine 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water in a small bowl. Stir until there are no lumps and the cornstarch is fully dissolved.
- When the eggplant reaches your desired texture, pour in the cornstarch slurry and stir in. Increase the heat back to medium stir constantly to mix the slurry in. Cook until the sauce thickens.
- Once the sauce has thickened, remove from heat and transfer everything to a serving plate.
- Garnish with the leftover green onions. Mapo Eggplant is best served with steamed rice. Enjoy!