Stuffed aubergines with black bean sauce

Serves 4 as a main course

  • 2 aubergines weighing about 400g each
  • Vegetable or corn oil for frying

for the sauce

  • 1tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 30g root ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 1tbsp rice or cider vinegar
  • 4tbsp sugar
  • 100 light soy sauce
  • 200ml water
  • 1 1/2 tsp cornflour dissolved in 2tbsp water
  • 2tbsp Chinese salted black beans, washed in cold water and drained

for the stuffing

  • 350-400g fatty minced pork
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 20g root ginger, scraped and finely chopped
  • 4 spring onions, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 1tsp Chinese five spice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Gently cook the onion, garlic and ginger in the sesame oil for 3-4 minutes without colouring until soft.
  2. Add the rice vinegar, sugar, soy sauce and water and bring to the boil.
  3. Simmer for 5 minutes then stir in the cornflour mix.
  4. Bring back to the boil, add the black beans and simmer gently for a further 10 minutes before removing from the heat.
  5. Meanwhile cut the ends off the aubergines and cut into 112cm-thick round slices.
  6. Lay them on a board and lightly sprinkle with salt on both sides and leave for 10 minutes.
  7. While the aubergines are salting, mix all the ingredients together for the stuffing and season.
  8. Wash the salt off the aubergines and dry on a clean tea towel.
  9. With the point of a sharp knife make a 2-3cm slit through the skin of each aubergine slice and work the point of the knife into the flesh, almost to the edge of the skin but taking care not to pierce it, to make a pocket as large as you can.
  10. Push as much stuffing as possible into the pockets with your fingers, again being careful not to break the slices. Don’t worry if the stuffing bulges out a little. It’s hard to gauge exactly how much stuffing you need, and you may find you have either slices or stuffing left over.
  11. Heat a non-stick pan with about a tablespoon of vegetable oil and fry the aubergines on a medium heat, adding another tablespoon or so during cooking, for about 5 minutes on each side until a nice golden colour. You may need to do this in 2-3 batches depending on the size of your pan.
  12. Take out and drain on kitchen paper to absorb oil.
  13. Then return all the aubergines to the frying pan and add the black bean sauce, bring to the boil and simmer gently for about 4-5 minutes turning the aubergines over after a couple of minutes.
  14. Serve with some sprigs of coriander.
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