Thai Spicy Eggplant

Adapted From Rachael Ray's 30-Minute Veggie Meals

i like this recipe because Bill is a big fan of baby eggplant, which tend to be more tender and less seedy than their full-sized counterparts. I've also made it with tofu cut into chunks -- baby eggplant have an annoying habit of going bad if they aren't used soon after purchase. I substituted rice vinegar for the fish sauce called for in the original recipe, as Bill is a vegetarian and I don't like handling fish sauce because it really stinks. (Yes, we do realize that we're probably eating tons of the stuff when we go to Thai restaurants. We've adopted a "don't ask, don't tell" policy about such things.) I also used more of the vinegar and soy sauce than she calls for because I like more sauce. It takes more time to chop all the veggies than it does to cook everything. Serve this with a pot of Thai jasmine rice.

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 to 1 tsp red pepper flakes depending on how hot you like it
3 baby eggplant, cut into bite-sized chunks
1 red pepper, cut into strips
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
3 tbsp rice vinegar
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 or 3 tbsp brown sugar (Ray says "a palmful")
20 basil leaves, torn into pieces

Heat up a frying pan or a wok on medium high heat and add the vegetable oil and the red pepper flakes.

When the pepper flakes start to sizzle, add in the eggplant. Stir-fry for about three to four minutes, until the eggplant chunks are no longer light-colored.

Add the red pepper, onion, and garlic, and stir-fry for another three minutes.

Add the rice vinegar and soy sauce, and then add the brown sugar and toss for a minute.

Remove the pan from the heat and toss in the basil. Serve over rice.

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