Make, Jane, make!: Chinese Stir-Fried Eggplant with Beef


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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Chinese Stir-Fried Eggplant with Beef

This is an easy dish that our whole family loves which really highlights the delicious silky texture of cooked eggplant. Before the kids came along, this definitely would have been a spicy Szechuan style dish, but it's been tamed down a lot since.

We received some lovely little eggplants from in our CSA box and when I asked my husband how he would like them prepared, he immediately chose stir fry over: roasting for baba ghanouj or eggplant curry or baking for parmigiana or moussaka.

The preparation is pretty typical of most stir frys. First, prepare your ingredients - in this case, eggplant (this was traditional Italian eggplant, Chinese style ones would be great as well), green onions, garlic and ginger.

Look at the lovely light green hue on these eggplants! Seeing that gorgeous colour made me wish I had roasted them for a pretty eggplant dip.
Next, heat up your wok with a little high heat oil (I like safflower) and add the meat. As much or as little ground beef as you would like to go along with your eggplant.

Cook it until it is half brown and half red. At this point, I like to add my seasonings: chicken stock, oyster sauce, a touch of soy (if you want), sugar (always!) and ground pepper. (In the Szechuan style, I would also add some Sriracha or a similar hot sauce).

 Let the meat brown thoroughly and add in your onion, garlic and ginger. Saute for about a minute.

Then throw in all the eggplant. Stir fry until the eggplant is tender.

Using the same measuring cup/bowl you had the oyster sauce/stock in (don't waste any stuck on sauce :), combine some water and cornstarch. Mix well to form a uniform slurry.

Add the cornstarch/water to your wok and mix until the sauce thickens and there is no more opaqueness from the cornstarch. You can always add more water if the sauce seems too thick or more cornstarch/water slurry if it seems too thin.

Spoon over rice and enjoy!


Chinese Stir-Fried Eggplant with Beef      Serves: 4

2-3 medium-large eggplants, cubed (strictly preference/circumstance - i.e. how much eggplant you like/have)
3-4 green onions, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch ginger, minced/grated (I like to freeze and grate my ginger a la Chef at Home, Michael Smith)
1/3 cup chicken stock
3 tablespoons oyster sauce
1-2 teaspoons soy sauce (optional)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper (white or black)
1-2 teaspoons Sriracha/hot chile sauce (optional)
1/3 - 1/2 pound ground beef
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon cornstarch

*As with all my Chinese recipes, the measurements are all approximate. Let your tastes guide you if you find you like something saltier, sweeter, spicier  :)
  • Mix together chicken stock, oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar, pepper, hot sauce.
  • Heat oil in a wok over high heat. Add ground beef and stir fry until the beef starts to brown.
  • Add sauce/stock mix and cook until the beef is browned.
  • Add in the green onions, garlic and ginger and saute for about 1 minute.
  • Lower the heat slightly and add your eggplant to the wok and stir fry until the eggplant is tender (about 5 minutes). Depending on how fresh your eggplant is, you may need to cover the wok and let it steam for a bit if the eggplant seems very dry/tough.
  • Stir together the water and cornstarch and pour the mixture into your stir fry. Cook until the sauce thickens and you can no longer see any foggy whiteness from the cornstarch. You may need to add more water or cornstarch/water to thin or thicken the sauce to your taste.
  • Best served with rice.


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