Monday, 12 August 2019

Thai Basil Fried Eggplant

Our first eggplant out of the garden! It's a little late this year, like an awful lot of things. We planted all our remaining basil seeds in the spring and it turned out about two-thirds of it is Thai basil. Since I've decided not to freeze pesto this year, that's fine, I guess, but I'm going to have to find more things to do with it. This was a very good start! Next up, the ubiquitous zucchini and green beans, probably cooked in a very similar way. 

2 to 3 servings
30 minutes rest time plus 30 minutes prep time

Thai Basil Fried Eggplant

Prepare the Vegetables:
3 small (500 grams; 1 pound) slender oriental eggplants
1 large onion
1 green, yellow, or red pepper
1/2 cup loosely packed Thai basil sprigs

Cut the stems from the eggplants, and then cut them from top to bottom in half; cut each half in halves or thirds again to form long, thin strips. Put them in a strainer and sprinkle them generously with salt.

Peel and sliver the onion. Core and de-seed the pepper, and cut it in long, thin strips. Remove the basil leaves from the stems, discarding the stems and rinsing the basil well. Set it aside to drain thoroughly.

Make the Sauce:
3 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon red chile flakes
OR 1 to 2 small orange thai chiles 1 teaspoon arrowroot or cornstarch
2 teaspoons Sucanat or dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar

Peel and mince the garlic, and put it in a small bowl. Remove the stem and mince the chile, if using fresh, and add it to the garlic. If using dry chile flakes, add them to the bowl. Add all the other sauce ingredients and mix them well. Set aside. 

Finish the Dish:
3 tablespoons mild vegetable oil
1/2 of a large lime, cut in wedges

Heat the oil in a large wok or skillet over high heat. Rinse off the eggplants, and lay them in the pan to fry, skin-side down. Sprinkle them with a couple tablespoons of water. When the water is gone and the eggplants are cooking, turn them over. Continue cooking, sprinkling on a little water again. Once it evaporates and the eggplants start to brown, add the onion and pepper. Continue cooking and stirring until they too soften and acquire brown spots.

Mix in the basil leaves, and immediately mix up the sauce ingredients again, and add them to the pan. Continue mixing well until the basil is wilted and the sauce coats the vegetables. Transfer everything to a serving dish and serve garnished with the lime wedges.

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