Stir-fried Chinese Eggplant with Thai Basil and Dumplings
What’s up y’all? My cousin Seth was hounding me yesterday, because Elysabeth hasn’t been available as much on IM to bug during the day at her new job. He said “Saucy and Bossy has been slacking, huh?” I was speechless. Well, not really, I basically told him that life gets busy and he should get over himself. Needless to say, I have three meals photographed and queued up, and tonight’s was just so tasty that I couldn’t wait to put it up.
For my birthday, my mother-in-law bought be a simply wonderful gift: a gift certificate to Russo’s! Last weekend, while Elysabeth was between positions and I took a couple of days off to spend with her, we decided we were going to go to Russo’s to use up the GC and make a few decadent meals. We bought lovely produce, some good bread, two types of fresh pasta, snacks, goodies, and basically just had a blast and only came in a tiny bit over the amount we had allotted, yielding a huge bounty. We grabbed a few nice and small Chinese eggplants, Thai basil, some fresh Thai birds-eye chiles and I was very excited to put it all together tonight in a zippy stir-fry.
This dish had a lot of bright, fresh, and eye-watering spicy flavors. It was a bit of a “kitchen sink” stir-fry, but I don’t think any of the flavors were too excessive. There were three kinds of fresh herbs, the eggplant, crunchy red bell pepper, fresh garlic and ginger, fresh AND dried Thai chiles, scallions and I put together a quick sauce with almost all of the Asian condiments we have. There’s a lot of prep, but it is worth it! We served it on top of some brown rice and with some supremely yummy pork and chive Chinese dumplings I picked up a few weeks ago at Hmart. If you’re crazy like we are, feel free to shoot a little Sriracha over the top to increase the heat. Please enjoy.
Stir-fried Chinese Eggplant with Thai Basil and Dumplings (Serves 2-3)
- 2 cups thinly sliced Chinese eggplant (about 2-3 eggplants)
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into stamp-sized pieces
- 4 scallions, whites sliced thinly, greens chopped coarsely, divided
- 1/2 cup (packed) torn Thai basil leaves
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 tbsp. chopped fresh mint
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
- 3 (or more) fresh Thai birds-eye chiles, split lengthwise
- 1 (or more) dry chiles (Thai, Serrano, Jalapeno), crumbled
- 2 tbsp. fish sauce (vegetarians, just replace this with 1 extra 1tbsp. soy sauce)
- 2 tbsp. hoisin sauce
- 2 tbsp. lukewarm water
- 1 tbsp. honey
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp. dark sesame oil
- 1 tsp. corn starch
- juice of 1 lime
- kosher salt
- vegetable oil
- Lay eggplant slices out in a wide bowl. Sprinkle with salt and let sit for ten minutes. Wipe off eggplant slices with paper towel, clean out bowl and return eggplant. Toss in the red peppers and scallion greens and set aside.
- In small bowl or measuring cup, combine fish sauce, hoisin, soy, water, lime juice, honey and sesame oil. Mix cornstarch and water thoroughly and add to sauce mixture. Add crumbled chiles, mix thoroughly and set aside.
- Heat wok over medium-high heat and add 2-3 tbsp of the vegetable oil. When oil starts to smoke, add garlic, ginger, scallion whites, and fresh chiles and cook stirring constantly for about a minute, until everything is fragrant. Do not let garlic burn.
- Add eggplant, red peppers, and scallion greens and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until eggplant is browned and red peppers are tender. Add more oil if necessary but it shouldn’t be if you keep things moving and scrape the bottom as the veggies release liquid.
- Add sauce and stir to evenly coat, scraping the bottom of the wok to loosen any charred bits. Let come to a boil and cook down for about 2 minutes, until only about 1/4 of liquid remains and sauce thickens somewhat.
- Remove from heat, and stir in all of the herbs. Keep stirring to distribute the herbs evenly, until wilted and well incorporated. Serve immediately over rice or noodles, optionally adding some extra hot sauce if desired.