Cooking these days has a lot to do with what you’ve got on hand, in this case Japanese eggplants. Dinner was going to be some pork larb with the starter sauce from Omsom and we just needed an easy side dish. Serves 2-3:
Stir-Fried Eggplant with Basil and Chiles
- 2 red chiles, such as cayenne, Fresno, or jalapeño (more or less to taste)
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 3 medium Japanese or Chinese eggplants (about 12 oz. total)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- ¼ pound ground pork or ground chicken
- 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
- ½ cup basil leaves, plus more for serving
- 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons tamari or soy sauce
Finely chop chiles and toss in a small bowl with honey and salt. Let sit until ready to use.
Slice eggplants crosswise into 3″ pieces, then quarter lengthwise. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Cook eggplant, tossing occasionally, until browned and crisp-tender, about 6—8 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
Heat remaining tablespoon olive oil in same skillet. Cook pork, breaking into small pieces, until browned, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and sesame seeds and cook, tossing, until very fragrant, about 1 minute. Add ½ cup basil leaves and toss until wilted, 2—3 minutes.
Stir vinegar and tamari into chile mixture. Return eggplant to skillet and add half of sauce. Cook, tossing often, until eggplant is tender, 1—2 minutes more. Season with salt if needed.
Transfer eggplant stir-fry to a plate and drizzle with remaining sauce. Top with more basil. Serve and enjoy!
Yummy! There was nothing left over and Frank’s not a big fan of most eggplant dishes, so that might give you an idea of how good it was. I did it without the meat, so I left the eggplant in the pan, added the garlic and sesame seeds, then the basil and finished it as the recipe above. If you could find Thai basil, that would be great, but the Italian basil works fine, too. This will be making more appearances on my table. Try it and let me know what you think.