1. Cut the aubergines into short strips the size of chips - the skin can either be peeled off or left on, whichever you prefer. Cut the soaked red chillies into two or three small pieces and discard the seeds.
2. Heat the oil in a preheated wok and deep fry the aubergine chips for about 3-4 minutes or until limp. Remove and drain.
3. Pour off the excess oil, leaving about 15ml/1 tbsp in the wok. Add the garlic, ginger, white spring onions and chillies, stir a few times, then add the pork, if using. Stir-fry the meat for about 1 minute or until it becomes pale, almost white, in colour. Add all the seasonings, then increase the heat and bring the mixture to the boil.
4. Add the aubergines to the wok, blend well and braise for 30-40 seconds, then thicken the sauce with the cornflour paste, stirring until smooth. Garnish with the green spring onions and sprinkle with sesame oil.