Tag Archives: eggplant

Thai Eggplant

18 Jun

Pittsburgh is truly a foodie paradise- there’s a plethora of wholesale and ethnic foods in the Strip District, farmers’ markets in every neighborhood, community gardens, and at least one absolutely phenomenal restaurant for any genre of cuisine you can imagine.   We’re surrounded by rich farmlands and woods filled with blackberry bushes and, if your timing’s right, fiddlehead ferns and wild morels.  There’s a grass-fed cattle farm and a buffalo ranch out by my parents’ place (45 minutes away) and a farm where you can pick your own blueberries.  I live in the sweet spot of the city- within walking distance I’ve got two Giant Eagles, a Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and an Asian grocer.  Yesterday I walked to the Strip and back on my lunch hour, grabbed some raw oysters from a street vendor for a two-buck lunch and got all this loot from Stan’s market for $7:

This confession may strip me of foodie merit badge: I doubt I’ve tried even a dozen restaurants in the city.  I eat out once, maybe twice, per week and there are only three or four joints in the date night rotation.  What’s worse is that I’ve found my favorite dish at each and order it every time.  Yes, I’m a senior citizen.

Spicy Eggplant is one of those dishes.  Thai Cuisine gets it just right- the eggplant is crispy on the outside, caramelized and gooey on the inside and swimming in a sweet sesame oil sauce. A little experimenting in my kitchen, and while my recipe isn’t a replica of TC’s- it might just be better.

Stir-fries are great for weeknights because they cook quickly over high heat.  This recipe can be easily adapted to serve your vegan friends- just add a package of frozen edamame near the end for some extra protein.

Thai Eggplant
Raspberry & Coconut, June 2011

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 T. coconut oil
  • 3 Chinese eggplants, sliced into half-moons
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • Hot peppers- I usually use 3 jalapenos, but you could use Thai chilies or just Sriracha if you don’t have any peppers on hand.
  • 3 T. chopped garlic
  • 1/2 c. chopped fresh basil
  • Chopped cashews and/or sesame seeds (optional)

Sauce:

  • 2 T. fish sauce
  • 1 T. soy sauce, tamari, or coconut aminos
  • 1 t. honey
  • 1 t. toasted sesame oil

Stir-frying veggies leaves them nice and crisp.  In this recipe, it’s only important that the onions, eggplant, and garlic are cooked thoroughly.  Chinese eggplant cooks much faster than “regular” eggplant.

Preheat a large skillet or wok over medium high.  Add coconut oil, onions, red peppers, toss, then add green beans and eggplant.  Cook for 3 minutes.

Whisk all the ingredients for the sauce while you’re waiting.

Toss the veggies and add garlic and peppers and cook a minute longer, stirring constantly. Add sauce and basil and cook until the sauce coats the veggies.  Toss in cashews/sesame seeds before serving and top with Sriracha for extra heat!

Side note- the fish wasn’t great.  It was cooked perfectly but I wouldn’t recommend the green curry rub- I usually do a dry rub with Penzey’s Cajun or chili powder.

 

Submitted to The Paleo Rodeo.

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