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5 from 6 votes

Hakka Stuffed Eggplant (客家酿茄子)

Hakka people love to make all kinds of stuffed food, such as stuffed tofu, pepper, bitter melon, mushroom, eggplant... This has something to do with their history. The ancestors of the Hakka people have migrated southwards several times since the Qin dynasty because of social unrest, upheaval, and invasions from the northern provinces. When they moved to the south, they had to change their diet from wheat to rice. Therefore, they couldn’t make dumplings anymore so they came up with the idea of stuffing the filling into all kinds of ingredients. I guess you can consider this as a dumpling variant. Stuffed eggplant was a regular dish on our dinner table. In this recipe, I am using Dover sole fillet as the main ingredient but we have tried shrimp, chicken, or pork. They all taste delicious. 

Ingredients

For the filling

Others

  • 2-3 Chinese long eggplants
  • 3 tbsp of cornstarch to coat the eggplants
  • 2-3 tbsp of vegetable oil to pan-fry

Instructions

  • Roughly cut the fish fillet into chunks and put it into the food processor along with the rest of the filling ingredients. Use the on and off mode to blend everything for 20-25 seconds. Don’t grind the meat too fine, otherwise, the filling will turn out too mussy. Remove it from the food processor and set it aside.
  • Slice the eggplant at a 45-degree angle into 1 centimeter thick pieces. Place all the slices on the cutting board. Put a few tbsp of cornstarch into a sieve and lightly dust onto the eggplant cut surface. Repeat this on the other side. Don't dust too much, otherwise, the filling can not attach well. A thin layer of cornstarch will prevent the meat from falling off and it also creates a starch layer on the outside of the eggplant which helps to catch more flavors from the sauce.
  • Spread a small amount of filling, 1/2 tsp will do, onto the eggplant slice. This will wet the cornstarch lightly and help the meat to fully make contact with the eggplant so it doesn’t fall off while cooking. Then put more filling, about 1.5 tbsp, on the top. Shape the edge with a dining knife. This recipe is enough to stuff 3 long skinny eggplants, of course, it depends on the size of your eggplant.
  • Before cooking, combine all the sauce ingredients in a bowl and set it aside.
  • Add vegetable oil into a frying pan. Place in the stuffed eggplant with the meat side down and pan fry over medium heat until golden brown. Flip it and fry the other side for a minute or 2.
  • Pour in the sauce. Be careful with the hot steam coming out. Move around the eggplants so they can absorb more flavors. If your pan is not big enough, you can fry the eggplant in batches. Just remember to divide the sauce in half too.
  • Transfer the eggplant to a plate. Sprinkle some diced scallion as garnish. Serve with white rice.