I’m going to show you how to make a spicy eggplant recipe, chinese-style! This hot and spicy eggplant recipe is a fiery, filling, delicious meal that goes perfect with a bowl of white rice! In Japanese, this dish is called “Mapo Eggplant” as it is the same base as mapo tofu, but with the tofu replaced with eggplant. You and your family will love this chinese spicy eggplant recipe!
Watch How to make this Spicy Eggplant Recipe, Chinese Style!
Spicy Eggplant Recipe, Chinese-Style: A Twist On A Classic Dish
This delicious dish is called Mapo Nasu in Japanese, and for the observant of you, you will recognize that name. It’s actually a take on the classic Mapo Tofu. This is the delicious dish made of spicy, tingly pork, cooked with soft, delicious tofu.
Mrs. Eats and I enjoy Mapo Tofu so much that we have it almost every week! It takes a bit of time to make, but we’re so glad that we put the time and effort into it! Each bite is flavorful, spicy, and tingly, with a great contrast between the silky soft tofu and the hearty pork.
This dish, replaces the tofu with delicious eggplant. The eggplant gives a great creaminess that the tofu doesn’t have and is a very delicious way to use some perfect summer eggplants.
How do you make this Spicy Eggplant Recipe, Chinese-Style?
It mostly follows the same steps as my delicious Chinese mapo tofu recipe, however, it’s not as simple as replacing the tofu with eggplant. Eggplants have a slight bitterness that, if they’re not removed prior to cooking, will come through in the final dish.
The way we get rid of that bitterness is by deep-frying it. Yes, these little babies go in a hot oil bath before being cooked! Now you could salt the eggplant if you’re looking for a lower-calorie version of the dish. It doesn’t make a huge difference with whichever method you use.
So if there’s no big difference, why go through the trouble of frying the eggplant, rather than just salting it? In Chinese culinary culture, there is value placed on foods being shiny. That shine adds a visual quality to the dish that makes it more appealing to many Chinese. Also the oil enhances the flavor of the food, as fat is flavor. But feel free to just salt your eggplants if you’d like!
Here's what you'll need to make this spicy eggplant recipe, Chinese-style
If you have made my Chinese mapo tofu recipe, then you’ll most-likely have all the ingredients you need to make this! Just a quick trip to the garden or supermarket for some fresh eggplants, and you’re ready to get cooking!
3 helpful tips for a great Chinese-style spicy eggplant recipe!
1. Marinade your meat
I can’t emphasize this enough! The flavor of your meat will add to the final dish, so make sure you’re seasoning it with more than just salt and pepper! Some soy sauce, sesame oil, and cooking sake will go a LONG way in making this dish amazingly delicious!
2. Toast your Sichuan Peppercorns
Sichuan peppercorns are the magic ingredient that will give your spicy eggplant recipe that electric tingle, followed by that cooling numbingness, as well as imparting a wonderfully floral-citrus aroma. In order to extract as much of those oils from the peppercorn, make sure you toast them first.
3. Wok & Roll!
For your stir-fry dishes, I highly recommend picking up a wok! I mean, not only is it useful for stir-fries, it works great for soups, stews, and is a fantastic vessel for frying!
Woks heat up super fast and that heat allows your food to get a unique char and smoke flavor called Wok hei, or “breath of the wok“. Whenever I cook with my wok, Mrs. Eats always comments on that wonderful char flavor in the meal.
There are many kinds of woks you can find online, from carbon steel to non-stick, with plastic or wooden handles.
The one I personally use and recommend, however, is simply made from a single sheet of hammered iron. It’s made in Japan with the utmost attention to quality. I’ve been using it for close to 4 years now and have cooked so much with it. Check it out by clicking the image!
As long as you make sure to properly care for it, it will bless you with amazing, delicious stir-fries every time!
You're going to love this Spicy Eggplant Recipe, Chinese-Style!
This dish has such a delicious, complex flavor. It’s savory, slightly sweet, and no one flavor stands out. The meat is flavorful and juicy and contrasts with the soft, creamy eggplant. It’s spicy, but not overwhelmingly so, and tingles and numbs your tongue. Eating this dish is an experience that you’re going to love!
Spicy Eggplant Recipe, Chinese-style (Mapo Eggplant)
- Ground pork 80 – 20, 1 lb
- Eggplant 3
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Garlic 3 – 4 cloves
- Green onion whites 1 stalk
- Ginger ¼ inch piece (about 1 tbsp when minced)
Dried Sichuan Chilies (See it on Amazon)
- 1 stalk Green onion tops 1 stalk
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground pork and all the *marinade* ingredients. Stir well to combine. Set aside and allow it to marinade for 20 minutes to overnight.
- Finely mince the garlic, green onion whites, and ginger and add them to a bowl. Cut the Szechuan dried chilies into thirds and place them in the same bowl. Slice the greens of the green onion stalk and place them in a separate bowl to be used as garnish.
- Cut your eggplants into half, then into quarters. Finally, cut them into thirds to create large “fries” and set aside.
- In your wok or pan, toast the Szechuan peppercorns over medium-low heat until they become fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and grind them in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Place it in a bowl and keep on the side.
- Fill your wok or a pot with two cups of oil, or enough to fry the eggplants. Heat the oil over medium high heat. Your oil is ready when you dip an eggplant in and it immediately begins to bubble violently. Working in batches, fry the eggplants for about 1 minute, then remove them from the oil and allow to drain well on paper towels or a wire rack.
- Heat your pan or wok over high heat, then quickly add a neutral cooking oil like vegetable oil, followed by the marinated pork. Cook it until about 60% cooked. There should be visible spots of brown and pink in the pork. Remove the meat from the heat and clean your wok or pan if necessary.
- Heat your pan or wok over high heat, then quickly add oil, followed by the *aromatics* (green onion whites, ginger, garlic, and Szechuan dried chilies). Stir them constantly to keep from burning and cook them until they become aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add a splash of your cooking wine, about 2 tbsp, and allow it to burn off the excess alcohol. Quickly add in the vinegar and combine everything, allowing it to cook for about 5 seconds.
- Add in your tobandjan and daodjan and combine. As the sauce cooks, you will see the bean pastes start to dry out and stick to the pan. This is okay. Continue to cook everything together until the bean pastes start to dry out and become thick, about 30 seconds.
- Add in your chicken stock and stir to combine, making sure to scrape off any of the bean paste that is stuck to the pan. Add in any of the juices that have leached out of the meat into the pan. Allow the sauce to come to a boil, then lower the heat to medium high. Allow the sauce to reduce by about 25%, making sure to stir constantly, about 2 – 3 minutes.
- Add in your pork and cook it until it has completely cooked through, about 3 – 4 minutes. Add in the sugar and the ground, toasted Szechuan peppercorn powder. Mix thoroughly to combine.
- Add in the eggplants. Allow the mixture to come to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring everything together, about 3 minutes, or until the eggplant is heated all the way through. Taste the mapo tofu and adjust the seasoning to taste.
- Carefully spoon your mapo tofu to a serving dish, then garnish with sliced green onions and serve.