STUFFED EGGPLANT CHINESE STYLE
When paired with rice, stuffed eggplant is a popular dim sum meal that may be enjoyed for lunch or dinner. What I appreciate most about this meal, compared to many other Chinese eggplant dishes, is that it utilizes less oil while still delivering a pleasant taste and texture.
The trick to cooking eggplant is steaming it. The shrimp and pork stuffing lends the dish a supple yet sturdy structure. With a rich sauce, you’ll have a restaurant-quality stuffed eggplant dish on your hands. Pork can be omitted from the stuffing. It can be replaced with more shrimp or ground meat of your choice. Stuffing is optional and can be omitted entirely. It would be an excellent vegan supper if you steamed the eggplant pieces and used veggie stock to make the sauce.
The beauty of a home-cooked dinner is that it can always be customized to suit your preferences or dietary constraints. We’ve had this stuffed eggplant meal many times at weekend dim sum brunches, and I don’t know why I don’t cook it more often at home!. There are no more excuses now that we have this proven, authentic Chinese stuffed eggplant recipe.
Let’s get this dim sum classic began, shall we?
FOR THE EGGPLANT:
- 6 oz. of shrimp(170g, peeled and deveined)
- 3 oz. of ground pork
- 1/2 tsp. of salt
- 1/4 tsp. of sugar
- 1/8 tsp. of white pepper
- 1 tsp. of sesame oil
- 1 tbsp. of vegetable oil (plus 3 tablespoons, divided)
- 1 tsp. of Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
- 1 pc. of egg
- 1 tsp. of cornstarch
- 2 scallions (finely chopped, divide half for the filling and half for the sauce/garnish)
- 4 pcs. of Japanese eggplants
FOR THE SAUCE:
- 1 tsp. of oil
- 1/2 tsp. of sesame oil
- 1 clove of garlic (minced)
- 1 cup of chicken stock
- 1 tbsp. of oyster sauce
- 1 tsp. of soy sauce
- A pinch of sugar
- 2 tbsp. of cornstarch (mixed into a slurry with 2 tablespoons water)
- salt (to taste)
- white pepper (to taste)
- The first step is to prepare the eggplant’s filling. Mix shrimp, ground pork, sesame, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, rice wine, salt, sugar, and white pepper in a food processor or blender. Rough paste should be formed after a few minutes of processing. Add the egg, cornstarch, and half of the scallions to a bowl and mix well. For 30 minutes, chill this concoction in the fridge (or freezer).
- Slice each eggplant diagonally into 1 1/2-inch thick slices. Slightly cut each slice down the center without cutting all the way through. One side of the components must remain attached. This will aid in the preservation of the eggplant’s two halves.
- It is best to put the shrimp and pork mixture in the middle of each half of an eggplant slice. In a medium-high-heat skillet, cook the slices on both sides in a tablespoon of oil until they’re golden brown. A tablespoon of oil can be added to the pan if it begins to dry out.
- To steam, remove from the pan and transfer to a heat-resistant plate. Prepare your steamer by filling it halfway with water and starting the timer (you can also use a wok with a steaming rack placed at the bottom). Simmer the water until it reaches a boil. Carefully slide the dish into the steamer and turn the heat back on. Add medium-high heat and a lid to the steamer. 7-10 minutes of simmering time. A soft eggplant is ideal. Undercooked eggplant is the worst!
- Meanwhile, begin preparing your sauce. In a medium saucepan, boil 1 tbsp—oil, sesame oil, and garlic cloves until fragrant, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken stock, oyster sauce, soy sauce, and sugar after 30 seconds of cooking—salt and pepper to your liking. Stir in half of the cornstarch slurry into the simmering sauce. The sauce will thicken if you let it simmer for a minute. Dispose of.
- Pour any remaining liquid from the plate into the sauce after the eggplant is done cooking. The sauce should be heated and thickened with additional cornstarch slurry, if necessary. Serve the eggplant topped with the scallion sauce you’ve saved in a small bowl.