Miso Pork Stuffed Eggplant

Eggplant cups stuffed with a savory pork and eggplant mixture.
Eggplant cups stuffed with a savory pork and eggplant mixture.

As someone who keeps a bare minimum of apps on her phone, I admit that Kitchen Stories was new to me.

The app was founded in 2014 by two business students with a penchant for cooking. They bill Kitchen Stories as the first video-based, design-oriented cooking app.

Now, the two have come full circle with a Kitchen Stories cookbook, “Anyone Can Cook” (Prestel), of which I received a review copy.

In the cookbook, the app team, based in Berlin, offer up a globally-inspired array of recipes such as “Glass Noodle Salad with Lemongrass Dressing,” “Spicy Chickpea Burgers,” “Savory Dutch Baby with Smoked Salmon and Horseradish,” and “Rigatoni with Walnut-Ricotta Pesto.”

I decided to give it a whirl with “Miso Pork Stuffed Eggplant,” which reminded me of an oversized version of a dim sum specialty.

But instead of slender Asian eggplants used in the dim sum version, this one uses globe eggplants. The recipe didn’t necessarily specify that, but you get the gist from the photo of the bulbous ones shown. I added that to the recipe, as well as the suggestion to buy four that are roughly the same size.

I needed two pans to fit the eggplant shells in.
I needed two pans to fit the eggplant shells in.
Two per person, alongside steamed rice and a sauteed green veg makes for a bountiful dinner.
Two per person, alongside steamed rice and a sauteed green veg makes for a bountiful dinner.

You peel the eggplants, leaving some of the skin for decorative stripes. Then, you halve them through their equator, before hollowing them out. The remnants go into the filling, along with ground pork, ginger, garlic, miso paste, soy sauce and sake. The empty eggplant halves are par-roasted before being filled with the ground pork mixture and put back in the oven to cook through.

I found that while the filling had robust flavor, the eggplant cups themselves were a bit lacking. So I added to the recipe the instructions to sprinkle a little salt all over the inside of each eggplant half before par-roasting. I also found that the stuffed eggplant required a longer baking time than indicated, especially if you like your eggplant soft like I do, rather than firmer and squeaky. So I added 5 minutes to the par-baking time, and another 10 minutes to the finishing baking time.

The red miso lends an almost Chinese black bean taste to the pork.

It’s a dish full of umami that lets you get a little artsy with summer eggplant.

If you like it hot, you can always drizzle on a little of your favorite chili crisp.
If you like it hot, you can always drizzle on a little of your favorite chili crisp.

Miso Pork Stuffed Eggplant

(Makes 4 servings)

4 globe eggplants, roughly the same size

3/4 ounce fresh ginger

2 scallions

Salt, to taste

3 tablespoons sugar

4 tablespoons red miso paste

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1/3 cup sake

14 ounces ground pork

Vegetable oil

Sesame seeds for serving

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel eggplants lengthwise, leaving space between peels to create a striped pattern. Cut off both ends, then halve lengthwise. Mince ginger and thinly slice scallions.

Use a spoon to carve out the center of the eggplants, leaving 3/4 to 1 inch on the sides and bottom. Chop the eggplant flesh that was removed from the center of the eggplants and set aside. Transfer eggplant cups to a baking dish (or two), brush with oil, sprinkle the cavities with a little salt, and bake for approximately 25 minutes.

In the meantime, whisk sugar, miso paste, soy sauce, and sake together. Heat vegetable oil in a frying pan and fry ginger until fragrant. Add ground pork and fry until browned. Add chopped eggplant and fry. Add miso sauce, stirring to combine. Stir-fry until the pork is glossy and covered with sauce. It will appear a bit dry. If there is a lot of liquid left in the pan, let it keep cooking until most of it evaporates.

Remove eggplants from the oven. Carefully stuff the pork mixture into the baked eggplants, and return to the oven. Reduce temperature to 325 degrees and bake for 20 minutes or so more until eggplant is tender. Garnish with scallions and sesame seeds before serving.

For a vegetarian version: Use shiitake mushrooms, firm tofu, or tempeh instead of ground pork.

Adapted from “Anyone Can Cook” by Kitchen Stories

More Eggplant Recipes to Try: Stir-Fry Udon Noodles with Eggplant, Portobellos, Thai Basil and Celery Leaves

And: If It Ain’t Broke Eggplant Caponata

And: Eggplant Curry

And: Eggplant in Garlic Sauce by Cecilia Chiang

And: Grilled Eggplant with Spicy Asian Dressing

And: Roasted Eggplant with Anchovies and Oregano by Yotam Ottolenghi

And: Roasted Eggplant with Tahini, Pomegranate, Parsley, and Pecans by Hugh Acheson

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