Beef with Eggplant, or 茄子炒牛肉, pairs Asian Eggplant with strips of beef in a sauce redolent with garlic and ginger, and tangy Black Vinegar.
I very much love eggplant, but I tend to prefer the long slender Asian varieties much more than the fat, egg-shaped types more commonly used in the West. Here, batons of fresh eggplant are paired with tender strips of beef in a rich sauce made tangy with the Chinese Chinkiang Black Vinegar. By the way, for a similar, but more fiery dis featuring Beef with Eggplant, you may wish to see my recipe for Spicy Beef and Eggplant – 辣味茄子炒牛肉.
How to make Beef with Eggplant
Toss the beef pieces with the baking soda and one teaspoon of the cornstarch, followed by the sugar and salt. Then, stir in the oil to help the pieces separate later while frying and set all aside to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
Pre-mix the sauce by making a paste with 2 teaspoons of cornstarch and a little water, then stir in the stock, oyster sauce and vinegar.
Toss the eggplant pieces with the remaining teaspoon of cornstarch and heat up a cup or two of oil in your wok over moderately high heat. Deep-fry the eggplant for a minute or two until the white part starts to turn golden and remove to a bowl lined with paper towel.
Allow the oil to come back up to heat and then deep-fry the beef pieces until just cooked through. Remove to another bowl and then drain the wok of all but a tablespoon or two of the oil.
Add the ginger and garlic to the wok and, as soon as the aroma arises, add the onion. Sauté just until the onion softens a little and then add back the meat along with the sauce ingredients. When the sauce reduces and thickens, stir in the eggplant once again and, once all is heated through, serve immediately.
Your Recipe Card for 茄子炒牛肉:
Beef with Eggplant
- 1/2 lb. good quality Beef Steak sliced into ¼ inch thick strips;
- 1 ½ cups Eggplant cut into batons;
- 1 cup Onion sliced top to bottom into thin sections;
- ¼ tsp. Baking Soda;
- 4 tsp. Cornstarch;
- 1 pinch each Sugar and Salt;
- 1 ½ tbsp. Vegetable Oil;
- ½ cup Chicken Stock;
- 3 tbsp. Oyster Sauce;
- ¼ cup Chinkiang Black Vinegar;
- 1 tbsp. minced garlic;
- 1 tbsp. minced Ginger.
- Toss the beef with the baking soda and one teaspoon of the cornstarch, followed by the sugar, salt, and oil, and marinate for at least 30 minutes.
- Pre-mix the sauce by making a paste with 2 teaspoons of cornstarch and a little water, then stir in the stock, oyster sauce and vinegar.
- Toss the eggplant pieces with the remaining teaspoon of cornstarch and deep-fry the eggplant in a cup or two of oil over moderately high heat until beginning to brown, then drain over paper towel.
- Deep-fry the beef in the same oil until browned, then remove to a bowl and drain all but two tablespoons of oil from the pan.
- Add the ginger and garlic to the pan, followed a minute later by the onion. Sauté just until the onion softens and add back the meat along with the sauce ingredients.
- When the sauce reduces and thickens, add the eggplant once again and heat through. Serve immediately.
I really like how you’ve managed to preserve the purple color of the eggplant in this preparation. Is it the cornstarch that does that? We also love eggplant (btw you left out the word ‘love’ or perhaps another word in the very beginning of your post) and I agree the oriental version is nicer. Unfortunately it is expensive and only available at Asian markets.
Edit made… Thanks 🙂 I think the color persistence is from the very brief deep-frying and relatively rapid cool-down afterwards. I’ll have to test to be sure.