Friday, August 3, 2012

Thai Inspired Stir Fried Eggplant

Every week has become a challenge to use up as many veggies as possible before our next box arrives from the farm.  Even for a three adult household, a full bushel is a lot to take in!  The last few weeks a huge amount of produce is immediately blanched and frozen, pickled or otherwise canned.  To date I have about 3 pound of green beans, a scant pound of sugar peas, 6 jars of dill pickles, and 2 jars of pickled peppers already stored away.  Pickled beets, more pickled peppers and possibly even some sauerkraut  will all be in the works in the coming days.  And we haven't even come into tomatoes yet!  Oh the sauces and salsas that are to come!  I'll be sure to post a few canned goodies down the road...

But back to this week's veggies.

Eggplants.  Lots of them.  One large deep purple Italian variety and several beautiful Japanese eggplants.  Such a gorgeous pale lavender.  They were almost too pretty to eat...

I do make eggplant on a fairly regular basis, but I never have this much to use up in so short a time.  I wanted something quick that featured this veggie, so I looked to Thai food for inspiration.  Added bonus...the onion, garlic and basil were all part of this week's CSA box as well!

adapted from a recipe at, of all places!

serves 3 

The Ingredients:
1 small red onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1-3 red chillies, juilienned
3   Japanese eggplants
2-3 Tbsp sesame oil 
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp fish sauce
2 Tbsp oyster sauce
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp cornstarch dissolved in  2 Tbsp water
1/2 cup fresh basil

The Process:
Slice the eggplant in half lengthwise and slice into 1/2-inch pieces.

Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok set over medium-high heat.  Add the onion, half of the garlic, chillies, and eggplant.  Saute for 5 minutes, adding water a Tbsp at a time to keep the pan from becoming too dry.

Add the soy sauce and continue stir-frying for 5 more minutes, or until the eggplant is tender.   Whisk together the fish sauce, oyster sauce and brown sugar.  Add to the skillet with the remaining garlic.  Mix until the eggplant is well coated.

Add the cornstarch/water mixture. Stir well so that the sauce thickens uniformly. Remove from heat.

Add three quarters of the basil to the eggplant and allow to wilt.  Garnish with remaining basil.  Serve with rice.

The Review:
The dish isn't much to look at, but don't judge a book by its cover...or an entree by how photogenic it is...

The taste speaks volumes!

I had my suspicions when I started adding the sauces.  Well, one sauce in particular.  Oyster sauce.  I love the deep unami flavor this pungent sauce adds to dishes, but when I'm cooking...oh that smell...I won't describe it lest it discourage you, dear reader, from trying this dish.  But don't be turned away.  The pungent aroma is nothing like the wonderful depth the sauce will add to the dish.

I was also surprised how fragant and at times overpowering the basil ended up being.  Most of us tried a leaf or two in the first forkfuls, but then began to eat around the herb, lest the eggplant be overpowered.

Though depending on your spice level, this may not be an issue.  Our heat was set to "wuss"

1 comment:

  1. My wife tried this for our breakfast and it's incredibly delicious! Actually, I'm planning to cook this next week because it's my daughter's birthday. I'm sure here visitors will like this dish.

    Easy Stir Fry