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Tamari-Ginger Meatball & Eggplant Casserole

  • 45 m
  • 1 h
Hilary Meyer
“Eggplant soaks up the flavors of ginger, garlic and tamari in this Asian-inspired casserole recipe. A hot pepper in the topping adds a bit of heat, but opt for sweet if you prefer.”


    • 2 pounds eggplant, preferably Japanese (see Tips), cut into 1-inch chunks
    • 4 tablespoons peanut oil, divided
    • ¼ cup reduced-sodium tamari
    • ¼ cup Shao Hsing rice wine or dry sherry
    • 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
    • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
    • 2 tablespoons water
    • 1½ pounds lean ground pork
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
    • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
    • Pinch of salt
    • ¼ cup cornstarch
    • 4 scallions, cut into 2-inch pieces
    • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
    • ¼ cup chopped lightly salted peanuts
    • 1 small red hot or sweet red pepper, seeded and minced


  • 1 Preheat oven to 425°F.
  • 2 Place eggplant in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish (or similar-size 3-quart baking dish). Drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil; toss to coat. Bake until starting to brown, about 30 minutes.
  • 3 Meanwhile, combine tamari, rice wine (or sherry), sugar, vinegar and water in a small bowl. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside.
  • 4 Combine pork, garlic, ginger, white pepper and salt in a medium bowl. Using about 3 tablespoons for each, form the mixture into 18 meatballs. Place cornstarch in a shallow dish. Roll meatballs in it until well coated. (Discard any remaining cornstarch.)
  • 5 Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and cook, turning occasionally, until golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the reserved sauce and cook, turning the meatballs to coat with the sauce, until it is slightly thickened, 1 to 2 minutes more. Add the meatballs, sauce and scallions to the eggplant.
  • 6 Bake the casserole until the eggplant is very tender and an instant-read thermometer inserted in a meatball registers at least 165°F, about 15 minutes.
  • 7 Combine cilantro, peanuts and red pepper in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the casserole just before serving.
  • Tips: A smaller, thinner variety with deep purple skin, Japanese eggplant has little to no bitter seeds and a mild, sweet taste. It's great for roasting, grilling and stir-fries. Choose firm eggplants with no bruised areas.
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