Mar 01

Braised Eggplant in Spicy Mince Meat & Black Bean Sauce




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After going on an Asian cooking binge over the past few days I rediscovered this recipe ~ braised eggplants in a spicy minced pork and black bean sauce. To be honest I never knew such a dish existed until I ordered the wrong thing at a Chinese restaurant in Melbourne. I was going for ma po tofu but I suppose the waiter misunderstood me and brought me this instead. Miffed to begin with but after the first mouthful he was forgiven instantaneously … it is that good. The sauce hits all the right flavour notes: pungent, salty, spicy and slightly sweet. The sweetness comes by the addition of sugar to balance out the acidity from the vinegar. Today I added two teaspoons but in future me thinks I will taste first before being a goose; I found my sauce a touch too sweet to my liking. I’m a more salt-is-better-than-sugar kind of gal.



The irony of it all is that I have been churning out my favourite Oriental dishes lately, and they all seem to be from Szechuan … and I don’t even like overly spicy dishes!! So what gives? I swear I never planned it out this way. I simply picked a dish and decided they’d do well on the blog. Turns out the last three blog entries in succession have all been spicy Szechuan-style ones.



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Moving abroad has done wonders to my cooking abilities. If I still lived back home in Malaysia I would have no need to learn or teach myself all these wonderful recipes. I’d be completely content to pay a visit to my local restaurant and simply order all my favourites, taking each and every dish for granted. But here in the Netherlands where a simple plate of Nasi Lemak can cost up to € 15 (that’s RM 67.85 according to today’s exchange rate), I have been forced to dig deep or forever live in want. I did my research on this recipe, read a good few samples and flicked through some photos to give me an idea of what to aim for. I generally look at pictures and try to imagine what it’s going to taste like at the end of the cooking process. Trial recipes are mostly tweaked and I always make a small one-person batch in case I screw it all up. After satisfying my imaginary taste buds (from looking at all those pictures), it was time to get started on the real thing.



Braised Eggplant in Spicy Mince Meat & Black Bean Sauce



  • 1 lb eggplant (Japanese, Chinese, or Thai), cut into 1 cm cubes
  • 1 lb ground pork, chicken or turkey, fresh
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 shallots
  • ½ inch ginger
  • 1 spring onion
  • 1 tbsp Shao Xing cooking wine
  • 100 mls water
  • 1 tbsp corn starch mixed with 2 TBSP water to make a paste
  • bunch of coriander leaves
  •  oil for deep frying





  • 4 tbsp black bean paste
  • 1 – 2 tsp chilli paste
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • sugar to taste





Begin by dicing up the eggplant into cubes. If you use an Asian eggplant, apparently the flesh is less bitter than its European counterpart. If you are using a fat globe aubergine, then salt it and rub it in before use. You’d want to leave them aside for about 10 – 15 minutes.


In a bowl mix all the components for the spicy sauce: black bean sauce, chilli paste, oyster sauce, vinegar, sugar and sesame oil. I know I have a bottle of Japanese soy sauce in the photo, but after tasting the black bean sauce I felt there was plenty salt in that one already. The cornstarch is to be mixed with cold water and made into a slurry.



Spicy Eggplant & Mince Pork



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It is amazing that the stores here sell black bean sauce on the shelves, yet they don’t sell tofu. Either way, it saved me a trip into Chinatown and having to pick up a large jar of the stuff. This one packet will allow me two uses; I hate storing jars in the fridge coz they will only end up sitting in there for a long time.



Once the sauce is done, prep the aromatics. Place the shallots, garlic, ginger and the white part of a spring onion into a chopper. Pulse until fairly fine. Set it aside.


Now fill a deep wok or pan with peanut oil. Once it is hot enough, add the eggplant and deep fry for a few minutes until soft. Remove from oil and drain well.


Taking a clean skillet, heat some oil and sautée the garlic, ginger, shallots and spring onions gently. After about two minutes add the minced pork and fry that up too, breaking up the pieces as you go along. If you don’t fancy pork all that much then chicken or minced turkey will also work. Once the pork is cooked through and starting to get a bit of colour, add the Chinese cooking wine. Continue to cook off the alcohol, then add the sauce all at once along with the water. Stir, then add all the eggplant. Cover the pan, lower the heat and let it simmer for five to ten minutes.


Uncover the pan, check for consistency and taste for seasonings. If it is too dry, add some water. Add the cornstarch slurry to thicken the sauce. Turn off the heat, dish out into a plate and garnish with spring onions and coriander.



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This is such a good recipe if you like eggplant and are looking for new ways to cook with them. Obviously this is to be eaten with rice … duh … but this would also go well on standard white bread slices. Mmmm! It’s a thing we have back home where day old curries and sambals are eaten with bread as a lite meal. I am sure all my Malaysian readers can attest to this; best way to polish off leftovers.



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Anyway, so this is what I had for dinner tonight and I congratulated myself for nailing this one.




~ Enjoy! ~


Permanent link to this article: http://foodflurries.com/savoury/braised-eggplant-in-spicy-mince-meat-black-bean-sauce


  1. andi

    This is absolutely delicious. Made this twice now and always tastes great. Just has the right balance of spice, salt, vinega and sweet. Fabulous dish. Will keep it as part of my favourites.

    1. bubviv

      Andi, I am glad you liked it. Thanks for the feedback as well.

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