It had been about a week since I bought fresh produce, so I was very ready for a trip to the market on Wednesday. I bought sweet potatoes, a vidalia onion, Japanese eggplant, peaches, green beans and pak choi.
And as is becoming standard, I found a little buggy on the pak choi. I couldn’t tell exactly what it was, but when I took him outside I found he was an itsy bitsy caterpillar.
I went to the market with no meal plans, and as I was walking around I was thinking stir-fry. I’d never tried the skinny Japanese eggplant, although I knew they were basically the same as the big ones. The stir-fry ingredients weren’t coming together for me, so I went a different direction and came up with: Agave Garlic Eggplant, Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Steamed Pak Choi.
With the eggplant I was going for a take on honey chicken, like you’d get at a strip mall Chinese joint. Sweet, garlicky, and a little bit spicy. I don’t have great knowledge of Asian cooking, and my attempts generally fall a bit flat in the flavor department, but I have to say that this turned out exactly how I had imagined. No exact recipe, but I’ll give you a run down. I think this would be really good with tofu or seitan too.
Agave Garlic Eggplant
4 Japanese eggplant, cut in half lengthwise then cut into quarter inch slices
medium sweet onion, halved then sliced. regular onion would also work.
2-3 Tbs peanut oil
splash sesame oil
8 cloves garlic, minced
pinch red pepper flakes
a couple Tbs agave nectar
about 1/3 c water
1-2 tsp hoisin sauce
splash rice wine vinegar
1 Tbs cornstarch
1. Mix the last five ingredients (agave nectar through cornstarch) together in a small bowl; set aside.
2. Heat the oils in a wok over medium-high heat. Add the eggplant and onion and cook, stirring and adding splashes of soy sauce as needed, until eggplant are cooked to your liking. I let mine go quite a while to be sure the eggplant was cooked enough.
3. Clear a spot in the center of the wok; put in the garlic and let it cook for 5-10 seconds, then stir in. Do the same with the red pepper flakes.
4. Whisk the sauce again then add to the wok. Stir and cook until the sauce thickens, a few minutes.
I leave you for today with a picture of the pak choi stems, which made nice little shapes when I cut them off.