So in celebration of tonight’s debut of Bizarre Foods, I thought I would give you my favorite grilled zebra recipe—but then I realized no one would ever make it. Here instead is the grooviest and easiest Ma-Po recipe I have ever found, tweaked over the years to make it easy to replicate in your kitchen.
Ma-Po Eggplant in Garlic Sauce
4 or 5 eggplants . . . Nice, firm, fresh Asian ones—Japanese,
Thai, or Chinese, they all work for this dish. About 3 lb.
18 oz. coarsely ground lean pork shoulder, marinated overnight
in 1 T. corn starch, 1 T. chili paste, 2 T. rice wine, and 1 T.
2 T. peanut oil
3 T. minced garlic
2 T. minced fresh ginger
6 T. minced scallions
2 dried Chinese chilies
2 T. dry rice wine
4 T. dark soy
2 T. toban djan . . . Otherwise known as chili bean sauce,
fermented yellow bean sauce made with chilies and
salt and sold in jars in Asian markets. Lee Kum Kee
brand works great!
2 T. sugar
1/3 c. chicken stock
1 T. dark sesame oil
Halve, brush with vegetable oil, and roast the eggplant for 20–30 minutes at 425 degrees. Lay on platter and set aside in a warm place.
Heat a wok over high heat and add the peanut oil. Swirl oil. When smoking, add the garlic, chilies, ginger, toban djan, and scallions.
Toss and add the pork, searing well. Add remaining ingredients and allow the dish to cook until the sauce is thick and reduced around the pork, about 5 minutes.
Pour sauce over the eggplant and serve.