This dish is all silky and spicy - you can use the common eggplant or the long thin Japanese eggplant. It's delicious with steamed jasmine rice or fresh Chinese egg noodles.
2 garlic cloves
1 knob ginger, peeled
8 spring onions
peanut oil (or vegetable oil) for shallow frying
300g pork mince
2 tbsp chilli bean paste
4 tbsp soy sauce
5 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine (or substitute dry sherry)
1 tsp sesame oil
4 tbsp sugar
¼ cup water
Slice eggplants into short, thin strips and scatter with salt, then leave in a colander for 30-40 minutes. Rinse and pat dry with kitchen paper.
In a mortar and pestle (or food processor), crush garlic, ginger and four spring onions to a paste. Slice the other spring onions into 5cm lengths. Set aside.
Heat a wok with a cup of oil and when hot, fry the eggplants until golden brown - it's best to do this in two batches. Remove with a slotted spoon to drain on kitchen paper and discard oil.
Heat the wok with a few tablespoons of fresh oil and add the garlic paste and pork mince. Stir-fry for 5 minutes on high until the pork is cooked, then add all the remaining ingredients, including the sliced spring onions. Cook for a few minutes until they have softened and the flavours have melded together.
Stir in the eggplant, check the seasoning (if a little salty add more water) and serve.