Cookdo Mapo Chuzu – Eggplant with Ground Meat

I’m going to preface this post with a simple statement; I love Chinese food, all kinds of Chinese food. Japanese style, American style, Korean style, authentic… it’s all deliciously bold and flavor packed.

However, if you’ve ever tried to cook Chinese food, you might be aware that it is extremely difficult to do with an electric stove. Chinese food requires a very hot gas burner, a fast moving wok, and often large amounts of smoke and steam. As a result, it’s very difficult for me to mimic the types of Chinese food I can’t simply go to a restaurant and order here in the US (specifically the kinds modified to match the tastes of other countries *cough* Japan *cough*). Instead, I discovered Cookdo, Japan’s version of Chinese Hamburger Helper.

Be forewarned, this recipe’s salt content is not for the faint-of-heart. I really only make this when I am either desperately craving it, have no time to cook, or both. I also spread the sauce a bit thin (I don’t read the proportions suggested on the box and recommend you don’t either), resulting in a slightly less unhealthy meal. Either way, this stuff is positively delicious, reheats really well, and is a fast, easy, one pot meal.

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Ingredients:

2 lbs ground meat (I use Turkey, but this works wonderfully with pork or beef. The original dish is made with pork.)

1.5 lbs eggplant

2 large carrots

1-2 bell peppers, any color you prefer

1 medium onion

1 packet of Mapo Chuzu Cookdo (see picture)

Start by cutting up all your ingredients. The eggplant should be sliced in half lengthwise, then sliced lengthwise into strips about 1/4 in thick. My eggplant were small, but you may want to also cut them in half crosswise if the eggplant are too large.

The carrot should be cut into several pieces and then sliced lengthwise into 1/4 in thick pieces as well. The bell pepper can be sliced cross-wise or length-wise into 1/4 in pieces. Finally, slice the onion into 1/4 in pieces.

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Heat 3 tbsp of oil in a wok on high heat. When the oil is hot, add the carrots and onion. Cook until the onion begins to turn translucent, stirring occasionally.

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Next, add the eggplant. Continue to stir fry the mixture until the eggplant is fully cooked, about 12 minutes; it should be tender and browned but not mushy.

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Add the bell pepper and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. Then remove all the vegetables from the heat, place on a separate plate, and return the wok to the stove.

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Begin heating 1 tbsp of oil in the wok on high heat. When the oil is hot, add the ground meat and brown for approximately 10 minutes until the meat is no longer pink.

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Next, add the cookdo sauce to the meat, stirring constantly to incorporate. Cook for an additional minute, then add the vegetables back to the wok. Stir everything thoroughly, incorporating the vegetables in the sauce, and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes.

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Finally, remove the wok from the heat and serve the dish over rice.

That’s it! The entire prep and cooking time for this recipe is somewhere between 25 and 40 minutes, depending on how long it takes to prepare the vegetables. Fast, easy, and all in one pot; sounds like Hamburger Helper to me. 🙂

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