In these days where we are all amateur food photographers and critics, it’s easy to overlook less photogenic dishes. But sometimes the humblest looking food is the most delicious. That’s why I love David Chang’s show, Ugly Delicious, and I think this Curried Eggplant and Pork could star in an episode. It may not be much to look at it, but it is so rich and savory. It’s the perfect one-pot meal, with some rice of course. This dish has basic ingredients, easy cooking steps, and is delicious. Plus it’s economical and re-heats like a dream.
My mom is a great cook and so was my grandmother. When I was a kid, my sister and I would spend our summers in Japan at my grandparents’ house. My mom comes from a small city on the coast of Southern Honshu Island called Kii-Katsuura. It’s a quaint place where everyone kind of knows each other and it allowed us to have the kind of childhood every kid wants, full of autonomy and freedom. We would be on our bikes with cousins from morning to night, picnicking by the river, creating bonfires at the beach, and racing up the forest to reach the local waterfall, Nachisan.
And at night, my grandmother would often have dinner waiting for us. She loved to try new foods and taste different cuisines; one of the ways she was able to do this in a small city was to read through recipes posted in the local paper. So this recipe, which is based on a Chinese dish, was printed in the paper in the early 80s. As soon as my grandmother made it, I knew I wanted to have it again.
This dish, which is slightly familiar and slightly exotic, is home cooking at its best. Curried Eggplant and Pork is such a comforting dish, especially served over rice, and I think you’re going to love it-even if it won’t win any beauty pageants.
Curried Eggplant and Pork is one of those recipes where I like to have everything prepped before I begin. That way, the cooking is a fast and easy process. I peel and cut the eggplant, mince the ginger and garlic, and dice the onion. I also make a water and cornstarch slurry and gather the sauce ingredients.
Once you have all the ingredients prepped, making Curried Eggplant and Pork is a breeze.
Curried Eggplant and Pork is a stew-like, braised dish. Once you add the chicken stock and the rest of the sauce ingredients, you let it gently simmer in the pan. The eggplant will become meltingly tender, and everything will cook down to a soft soupy texture. At this point you will add in the cornstarch slurry to help it thicken up a bit.
Curried Eggplant and Pork begs to be served on top of perfect rice to soak up all the yummy sauce. Try it tonight and let me know what you think! Leave a comment below, rate the recipe, and of course tag us in your pics @funkyasiankitchen, hashtag ugly delicious optional.
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1 large eggplant, about 1 pound
- 1 Tablespoon neutral oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 Tablespoon peeled and minced ginger
- 1 Tablespoon curry powder
- 2 Tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 Tablespoons water
- 3 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 1 scallion minced
- 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
- ⅛ teaspoon fresh ground pepper and salt to taste
- Mix the cornstarch and water and set aside.
- Peel the eggplant and slice it into thick pieces. Stack the eggplant and then cut it into ½ inch sticks and then cut the sticks into ½ inch cubes. Set aside.
- Heat a large deep skillet (dutch oven works great) over medium high heat and add the oil and onion. Saute the onion for 5 minutes until translucent and very soft. Add the pork and break it up into small pieces. Cook it for 2-3 minutes until almost cooked.
- Add the ginger, garlic, and curry powder and stir to mix. Next add the eggplant and stir to combine. Add the oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar, fresh ground pepper, and chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a simmer, partially cover, and lower the heat to medium.
- Cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep the bottom from sticking, until the eggplant is soft and creamy. If there is still a white core, continue cooking for several more minutes. You want the eggplant completely cooked through.
- Take a small taste and add a little salt if needed. Add the cornstarch slurry, making sure to give it a quick stir first. Stir it in and let it thicken for a minute.
- Add the sesame oil, scallion, and cilantro and stir to combine. Serve immediately with some steamed rice.
Keywords: curry, eggplant, pork, chinese food