It’s a pantry dish. We had two large eggplants and not too many other vegetables to pair them with. But there was ground pork and various Chinese sauces in jars. I could do with what I had. I would have loved to garnish the dish with finely sliced scallions though. But there was only a bunch of cilantro so that would have to do.
When I served the dish for lunch today, I asked Speedy and Alex to guess what’s in the sauce. They couldn’t. Not surprising, really, because those four ingredients that went into the sauce, in equal amounts, gave birth to a mixture that’s as mysterious as it was delightful.
Who would have thought, right? I usually go heavy on the oyster sauce but, as it turns out, when combined with the concentrated flavors of miso paste, using less is the better option. Hoisin sauce adds sweetness while the rice vinegar prevents that sweetness to turn into something cloying. Oh, I was truly pleased with the result.
It all begins with the eggplants. I know that eggplants differ from region to region, some eggplants are more bitter than sweet, and even the density of the flesh varies. We use Asian eggplants by default (of course) which are sweet and require a very short cooking time.
If you’re using a different kind of eggplant which you know from experience is bitter rather than sweet, dice them then toss with a couple of tablespoons of rock salt (this step is completely optional if using Asian eggplants but I went ahead and did it anyway). Leave for ten minutes to allow the salt to draw out the water then squeeze the eggplants and dump into a large bowl. Toss with potato starch and deep dry.
Set your eggplants aside and cook the ground pork. Brown the meat, season, add oinion and garlic, and cook until the vegetables are limp.
Then, you pour in the sauce, add the eggplants to the pork and stir fry until the meat and eggplants have soaked up the sauce. And that’s it! Ladle the dish over rice and have a great meal.
Pork and eggplant stir fry with miso sauce
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
- 1 tablespoon brown miso paste
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sesame seed oil
- Toss the eggplants with the salt and leave for ten minutes. Squeeze and toss with the starch.
- Heat enough cooking oil for deep frying, dump the eggplants and cook over high heat just until a golden crust forms. Scoop out and set aside.
- Pour off the cooking oil leaving only a tablespoonful and reheat.
- Spread the ground pork in the hot oil, leave for a minute or two then stir to break up lumps.
- Pour in the fish sauce, add the chili flakes, and stir fry until the meat is just starting to brown.
- Add the onion and garlic, and stir fry until the mixture is quite dry and the vegetables are softened.
- Mix all the ingredients for the sauce with two to three tablespoons of water.
- Pour the sauce over the pork, add the fried eggplants and stir fry just until the eggplants are heated through.