Peel and chop the onion. Halve the pepper. Scoop out the seeds and white bits, then chop. Trim the aubergines. Chop into chunks. Slice the chilli, flicking out the seeds for less heat. Peel and finely chop the ginger.
Heat ½ tbsp oil in a deep frying pan or wok. Add the lardons. Stir fry for 5 mins till golden. Lift out of the pan with a slotted spoon. Pop on a plate lined with kitchen paper.
Add another splash of oil to the frying pan if you think it needs it. Add the onion. Stir fry for 5 mins till soft and glossy. Season with salt and pepper. Add the aubergines to the onions. Stir fry for 5 mins till golden.
Add the chilli, ginger and China 5 spice to the frying pan. Pour in 300ml boiling water. Pop the lardons back in the pan. Cover. Bring to the boil. Turn the heat right down. Simmer for 15 mins till thick. Stir now and then while it cooks.
Meanwhile, tip the rice into a small pan. Add 350ml boiling water. Drop in the star anise. Cover. Bring to the boil. Turn the heat down. Simmer for about 8 mins till all the water is absorbed.
Take the rice off the heat. Set aside, lid on, for 2-4 mins to finish cooking the rice.
Taste the hotpot. Season with a little salt and pepper if you think it needs it. Serve with the rice and coriander leaves.