Kitchen Garden Journal
- Published on Monday, August 15, 2011, 04:21
- Written by Tim Wilcox
3 Asian Eggplants (the long, skinny kind)
¼ cup canola or other frying oil
3 large cloves of garlic, chopped fine
Two to five Thai chilies, cut in fairly large pieces
2 Tbsp natural sugar (Palm sugar or turbinado)
¼ cup soy sauce, or a 4:1 mixture of fish sauce and dark soy sauce
1 bunch thai basil, leaves stripped and left whole
Cut the eggplants diagonally into 1 inch segments. In a wide skillet or wok, heat the oil and fry the eggplant slices, turning occasionally, over medium-high heat until golden brown on the outside and creamy-molten on the inside. Add more oil if the eggplant soaks it all up.
When done, remove pan from heat and transfer the eggplant to a paper-towel lined plate. Discard all but 2 Tbsp of the oil. Return pan to heat and fry garlic until sticky and not quite brown. Add sugar, soy sauce and chilies and stir quickly to dissolve sugar. (You may want to add a few drops of water to prevent sugar from burning.) Add eggplants pieces back to the pan along with the basil leaves. Stir to coat and wilt the basil, about 30 seconds. Serve hot with jasmine rice.
Note: this technique works well with chichen, pork, tofu, etc. either alone or in combination with the eggplant. A variation I find particularly tasty is to brown ½ lb of ground pork in the pan first, then use the rendered fat to fry the eggplant. Continue the recipe as above, adding back the pork and eggplant together in the final step.
I will always remember this recipe because I cooked it the day we brought our daughter, Lily home from the hospital. It was the first of many meals I ate one handed, that little 5 pound lump clutched in my left forearm.