This stuffed eggplant is inspired by my favorite Hakka Yong Tau Foo dish (stuffed tofu) and the cutting method is inspired by YK Kitchen’s lantern eggplant.
I love eggplant A LOT! As the holiday is around the corner, I want to use vegetables to create a centerpiece at our dinner table. So, this stuffed eggplant comes to life. Eggplant is healthy and has a fantastic unique texture that you either love or dislike. Luckily, my family loves it, except my one of my kids.
This stuffed eggplant with vegan pork is exceptionally good! While the traditional Yong Tau Foo filling is made from a mix of fish paste, but my aunt who is Hakka likes to add meat to it. My version uses vegan pork from OmniFoods that has a fantastic binding texture that goes well with the eggplant.
How to make Stuffed Eggplant with vegan pork
Step 1: Make the stuffing
The stuffing is made from one of my favorite ingredients, OmniPork vegan ground along with finely chopped carrots, and a mix of simple sauces. The final texture of the paste should be sticky.
Step 2: Prepare the Eggplant
Normally, when making Yong Tau Foo, the stuffed eggplant is a simple slight angle cut with one opening. I thought it’s fun to make it look more appetizing and easier to cook with a few more slits.
So, after you clean the eggplant and pat dry, cut it into 2-inch sections. For each eggplant, you will get 3 or 4 logs.
Then, half each one, vertically and lay the white side down. Secure the top and bottom with the back of two forks. I placed the forks in opposite directions to create an even height. This way, when you cut the eggplant, you’ll get an even depth and won’t cut through it.
Make 4-5 slits with a sharp knife. Once you’ve stuffed the cuts with filling, it will look like a curve bridge. So, the more slits you have, the curvier it will be which will make it harder to cook through later.
Next, set up your stuffing station. Fill a small bowl with cornstarch, prepare a baking sheet pan, and move the filling mixture next to you.
Dust and rub the eggplant’s slit with cornstarch. Using the back of a spoon or butter knife, scoop and stuff the filling into the slit. Press gently to adhere. Repeat until all eggplants are filled.
Place the eggplant, stuffed side up, on a baking sheet pan. Add 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch to a fine-mesh sieve then dust to coat the top.
Step 3: Cook the eggplant
NOTE: Since I don’t have a large pan, I’m cooking these in 2 batches which is why my sauce is added separately. To save time, you may mix the sauce together in a bowl and only add half of it if you are cooking in batches. Or you can add the sauce and taste test as you similar to how I do it in my cooking video.
To cook the eggplant, add enough oil to cover the bottom of a non-stick skillet (I used 12-inch) and set it over medium heat.
Arrange the eggplant in the hot pan in one layer, the white part down. Pan-fry until it turns slightly golden. If you have a tall curved eggplant, gently press it down with a spatula so the oil touches as much surface as possible.
Gently flip the eggplant and continue to cook the stuffed side until a thin crust forms on the vegan pork.
To season the eggplant, flip again so the bottom touches the pan.
Add sauces and water, then cover with a lid and cook for about 3-5 minutes or until the flavors meld and eggplant is fully cooked through.
While waiting, make a light cornstarch slurry with 2 teaspoons of cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of water. Uncover the pan and slowly swirl in the slurry to thicken the sauce to your likings. Garnish with chopped scallions, red jalapeños, and sesame seeds. Serve warm with rice.
Stuffed Eggplant with Vegan Pork Cooking Tips
This dish is meant to be served with rice, so the sauce is on the saltier side. Please adjust down the salty level if you plan to serve this dish as-is. It’s a good idea to taste as you are cooking when adding the seasoning.
- How to cut eggplant – Normally, when I make Yong Tau Foo using eggplant, I slice it with an angle-cut like here, which you can try as well. To create a more fun shape, I decided to use this method, plus the end result make a beautiful dish at the holiday dinner table.
- Sauce – I used soy sauce, vegan oyster sauce and Doubanjiang or fermented bean sauce to give this dish the lovely savory flavor. Doubanjiang can be substituted with black bean sauce or broad bean sauce which some brands come pre-seasoned with spiciness.
Other eggplant dishes to try
This Stuffed Eggplant with Vegan pork is
- Perfect for make-ahead meal. Once you’ve pan-fried both sides of the eggplant, keep them in an air-tight container once cooled. When ready, make the sauce and braise it right before serving
- Fun cook-together with family and friends
If you try this recipe, I would love to hear your feedback and see your beautiful re-creation. Leave me a comment, rate it, and tag @woon.heng and #woonheng to your photos on Instagram or Facebook. Happy cooking, friends!
Stuffed Eggplant with Vegan Pork
Sauce (separated – see instructions)
- 1 tablespoon chopped red jalapeños
- a handful of chopped scallions
- sprinkles of toasted sesame seeds
Prepare the stuffing
- Empty the OmniPork Ground in a bowl. Then, add the carrot, ginger juice, soy sauce, vegan oyster sauce, pepper, sesame oil, and mix everything together until well-combined. The paste should look thick and sticky.
Prepare the eggplant
- Wash the eggplant and pat dry with a towel. Place an eggplant on a chopping board, then trim off the end. Cut eggplant crosswise into 2-inch sections. You may get 3 or 4 logs depending on the length of your eggplant. Now, stand a log tall and halve it vertically. Lay the flat surface down with the skin side facing you.
- Arrange two fork handles to secure the eggplant as a guide so you don’t cut through it.
- Using a sharp knife, make 4-5 slits (5mm each). Repeat with the remaining eggplants. I got about 22 eggplant halves.
- Fill a small bowl with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. Rub the eggplant's slit generously with cornstarch. Using the spoon handle or butter knife, stuff the opening with the mixture, pushing gently to adhere. Smooth out the top and transfer to a baking pan. Repeat until all eggplants are stuffed and transfer them to a baking sheet pan. Add a tablespoon of cornstarch in a fine-mesh sieve. Dust the eggplant with cornstarch.
Cook the eggplant
- To cook the eggplant, add a thin layer of oil to cover a large non-stick skillet bottom (I used 12″).
- Arrange the eggplant in the pan in one single layer, stuffed side facing up. I cook mine in 2 separate batches. Pan-fry over medium-low heat until the bottom turns slightly brownish. Carefully flip the eggplant and pan-fry this side until a thin crust forms, about 3-5 minutes.
- Flip the eggplant again so the stuffed side faces up. Season with 1 tablespoon of each (I half the sauce since I cook mine in 2 batches): light soy sauce, vegan oyster sauce, and doubanjiang. Then, slowly add in 1½ cups of water. Bring it to a boil and cover the pan with a lid and braise for 2-3 minutes over medium heat until the flavors meld and the eggplant is fully cooked through.
- While waiting, mix 2 teaspoons of cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of water to make a slurry.
- Uncover and swirl in the cornstarch slurry to thicken the sauce. Transfer a plate. Repeat the same cooking step with the remaining eggplant if cooking in 2 batches. Garnish with chopped red jalapeños, scallions, and toasted sesame seeds. Serve warm with rice.
- Please adjust the sauce’s saltiness level if you plan to serve this dish as-is.
- I made this recipe in 2 batches due to the size of my pan. If you have a large pan, feel free to mix the sauce in a bowl and add them while cooking. Always taste test as some fermented bean sauce brand is saltier than others.
- Double the amount of cornstarch slurry if you are able to cook this dish in one pan.