CATEGORIES: Baking, Breakfast, Beef, Chicken, Fish, Lamb, Pasta, Pork, Ramen, Vegetarian

Serves four

  • 3 Thai eggplant, cut into 1 1/4-inch/3cm dice (12 cups/950g)

  • salt

  • 1/4 cup/60ml peanut oil

  • 2 or 3 bunches of green onions, chopped on an angle into 1¼-inch/3cm slices (3½ cups/250g)

  • 2 3/4-inch/7cm piece of ginger, peeled and julienned (6 tbsp/60g)

  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • 1 green chile, thinly sliced

  • 1 lb 2 oz/500g ground pork

  • 3 tbsp mirin

  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce (avoid premium dark soy sauce, which is too dominant for the dish)

  • 2 tbsp keçap manis or other sweet soy sauce

  • 1 tsp sesame oil

  • 1 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar

  • 3/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped

  • 1/2 cup roasted and salted peanuts

  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted

Place the eggplant in a large bowl with 1½ tsp salt. Mix well, then transfer to a basket steamer (or a colander that can sit over a large saucepan) and set aside.

Fill a large saucepan with enough water to rise 1¼ inches/3cm up the side. Bring to a boil over high heat, then place the steamer (or colander) in the pan. Cover with the lid or seal well with foil, to prevent the steam escaping. Decrease the temperature to medium-high and steam for 12 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Meanwhile, pour 2 tbsp of the peanut oil into a large sauté pan and place over high heat. Add the green onions, ginger, garlic, and chile and fry for 5 minutes, stirring often, until the garlic starts to color. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Pour the remaining 2 tbsp of peanut oil into the pan and add the pork. Fry for 3 minutes, stirring to break up the meat. Add the mirin, soy sauce, keçap manis, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and ½ tsp salt. Cook for 2 minutes, then return the green onion mixture to the pan. Cook for 1 minute, then remove from the heat—there should be plenty of liquid—and stir in ½ cup/10g of the cilantro and the peanuts. Serve with the eggplant, sesame seeds, and remaining ¼ cup of cilantro.