Roasted Auberigine with Sichuan-Style Pork

  • 6 medium Japanese aubergines (about 1 pound), tops trimmed, halved lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 bunch spring onions, thinly sliced, white and green parts separated
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • One 2-inch piece ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons chilli-garlic sauce or sambal oelek
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • Steamed white rice, warm, for serving

Preheat the oven to 220°C with a rack set on the middle shelf.

Use a sharp paring knife to lightly score the flesh of each aubergine 6 to 8 times. Place the on a baking sheet and toss with 2 tablespoons of the oil and season liberally with salt and pepper. Place the aubergine, cut-side down, and bake until the aubergine starts to soften and the skin starts to brown, about 15 minutes. Use a large offset spatula to gently flip the aubergine over and bake until the flesh is completely softened and light golden brown, about 15 more minutes.

Meanwhile, make the pork: Heat the remaining oil over medium-high heat in a large saute pan. Add the pork and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, breaking up the meat, until lightly browned and no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add the spring onion whites, garlic and ginger and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in the chili-garlic sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, 1/2 cup water and half of the scallion greens. Simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

To serve, spoon the pork over the roasted aubergine and garnish with the remaining spring onion greens. Serve with steamed rice.

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