Monday, August 27, 2012

thai taste

We have been hit by the eggplant truck.  I've mentioned before that the beauty and the curse of eating seasonally (through our CSA) is that you get . . . a few things at a time!  Summer is better than the rest of the year, but still there are weeks where we get mostly okra, a boatload of peppers, or (like this week), about fifteen eggplants of various sizes and colors.

The hard part about eggplant is that there isn't so much you can do with it.  (At least in my repertoire.)  Can't eat it raw.  We are still without a working oven, so no eggplant parmesan or baba ganoush.  Don't really love ratatouille.  I was really kind of at a loss.  Then I thought:  basil.

My friend Stephanie gave us a basil plant out of her backyard a few weeks ago.  In spite of my continual inattention and even blowing over and losing all its soil a couple of times, it's still producing!  I went out and plucked almost all the leaves.

Then I threw together this Thai-style stirfry.  The distinction of the Thai stirfry is that it has no thickener, like cornstarch, to give the sauce that Chinese-takeout-glisten.  It was fantastic tonight alongside:  a raw squash, daikon, and carrot salad; meatballs with scallion, ginger, and garlic; and nuoc cham.  Almost all the elements of this dinner used fish sauce as a seasoning.  This Asian equivalent to Worcestershire is high in magnesium, which enhances a natural feeling of calm.  Good for a wild girl before bedtime!

Thai Basil Eggplant
3 medium or 1 large eggplant, chopped into 2-inch chunks
1 T coconut oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 C water
1 T sugar (or sweetener of your choice)
2 T fish sauce
handful basil (Thai basil would be preferable), removed from stems

Heat coconut oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet or wok until almost smoking.  Add garlic and continuously stir very briefly, about thirty seconds.  Drop in eggplant and let cook about a minute.  Add water, cover, and let simmer until the eggplant has absorbed almost all the water - about 5 minutes.  You want it to be quite soft.  It might take a little more water and time.

Stir in sugar and fish sauce and cook 2 to 3 minutes longer.  Cut the heat off, add in the basil, cover and let wilt for about a minute.  Serve right away.  Serves 4.

Sorry, only had leftover pictures!  Who has time to photograph hot food while starving!?!?

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