Spicy Japanese Eggplant and Pork, Mapo Nasu マーボーなす

Spicy-Japanese-Eggplant-and-Pork-Mapo-Nasu

Summer is here and I am starting to see my favorite Japanese Eggplant (Nasu in Japanese) in our local Asian Supermarket and it looks beautiful! I love eggplant and I also love spicy food so of course one of my favorite Chinese dishes is Mapo (or Mabo) Tofu. Well this recipe is like Mapo Tofu but there is eggplant in the recipe in place of the tofu. It is so good believe me.

I love ordering Mapo Nasu at my favorite Chinese restaurants in Tokyo but unfortunately there are no restaurants in Seattle that make it right. Most of the Mapo Nasu here is very oily. The eggplant is deep fried first before being added to the rest of the ingredients and stir-fried and if not done properly this can result in the whole dish becoming very greasy. I have always loved roasting my Japanese eggplant and thought maybe I could roast the eggplant instead of deep frying it. The dish would be healthier and lighter so It was worth a try right?

Well I’m happy to report the experiment was a huge success and the results were super yummy (yes I use the word yummy). I love eating Mapo Nasu with Japanese rice but it is great over noodles too (udon or ramen style noodles) and in lettuce wraps if you want to keep it low carb. You can get very creative with this dish.

Japanese eggplant is the smaller, darker purple Asian eggplant, usually about 4 to 6 inches long, much smaller than Chinese eggplant which is longer, more slender and a lighter purple color. Do not confuse the two. They may both be small but the texture and skin are totally different. Chinese eggplant has a much tougher skin and doesn’t soften as quickly as Japanese eggplant. If you cannot find the Japanese eggplant you can substitute with a regular large eggplant cut into smaller 2-3 inch pieces.

Ingredients: 2 entrée size servings

  • 4-5 Japanese Eggplant, sliced in half lengthwise then slice each side in half again
  • Olive Oil to brush on eggplant for baking
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 2 Tbl Sesame Oil or Canola Oil

Group A Ingredients

  • 3-4 scallions (white & green parts) chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon ginger, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Tobanjiang (spicy chili bean sauce)
  • 1 Tablespoon Tian Mian Jiang (sweet bean sauce)

Group B Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Sake or Sherry
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sugar

Group C Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon Cornstarch
  • 2 Tablespoons Water

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lay out eggplant pieces on a foil lined  baking sheet, that has been lightly oiled, cut side up. Brush eggplant pieces with olive oil making sure you oil both sides. Place pan in oven and roast eggplant (flip over when slightly brown on top then flip again at the end so the cut side ends up on top) until soft but not mushy, approximately 10 – 15 minutes on each side. Remove from oven and set aside.

Heat up a wok or skillet and add the sesame oil or canola oil. Add the ground pork and stir-fry on medium-high heat until the pork is half-done.  Add Group A ingredients and stir-fry until aromatic, about 2-3 minutes.  Add in Group B ingredients and mix well.  After mixture comes to a boil lower the heat to medium and add in the eggplant pieces and stir gently (don’t smash the eggplant!) to blend the eggplant well with the sauce. Simmer for about 1-2 minutes.  Add Group C ingredients slowly and gently stir until sauce thickens, about another 30 seconds.  Serve while hot.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Spicy Japanese Eggplant and Pork, Mapo Nasu マーボーなす
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
  • 4-5 Japanese Eggplant, sliced in half lengthwise then slice each side in half again
  • Olive Oil to brush on eggplant for baking
  • ½ pound ground pork
  • 2 Tbl Sesame Oil or Canola Oil
  • Group A Ingredients
  • 3-4 scallions (white & green parts) chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon ginger, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Tobanjiang (spicy chili bean sauce)
  • 1 Tablespoon Tian Mian Jiang (sweet bean sauce)
  • Group B Ingredients
  • ¾ cup chicken stock
  • 1½ Tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Sake or Sherry
  • ½ teaspoon Sugar
  • Group C Ingredients
  • 1 Tablespoon Cornstarch
  • 2 Tablespoons Water
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lay out eggplant pieces on a foil lined baking sheet, that has been lightly oiled, cut side up. Brush eggplant pieces with olive oil making sure you oil both sides. Place pan in oven and roast eggplant (flip over when slightly brown on top then flip again at the end so the cut side ends up on top) until soft but not mushy, approximately 10 - 15 minutes on each side. Remove from oven and set aside.
  2. Heat up a wok or skillet and add the sesame oil or canola oil.
  3. Add the ground pork and stir-fry on medium-high heat until the pork is half-done. Add Group A ingredients and stir-fry until aromatic, about 2-3 minutes. Add in Group B ingredients and mix well. After mixture comes to a boil lower the heat to medium and add in the eggplant pieces and stir gently (don't smash the eggplant!) to blend the eggplant well with the sauce. Simmer for about 1-2 minutes. Add Group C ingredients slowly and gently stir until sauce thickens, about another 30 seconds. Serve while hot.

 

Comments

  1. Looks so tasty <3

  2. The tip about roasting the eggplant was perfect. I was hesitant about deep frying as shown in other similar recipes, and every time I just sauteed; came out chewy. This is my stand-to nasu recipe now!

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