This is an Asian ‘style’ eggplant made with spicy thai basil. you can add shrimp paste, fresh shrimp, chicken or pork mince to it as well. its important to cook the eggplant in water until it requires just a little additional cooking and drain it completely.
Ingredients for 3-4
- 2 Japanese eggplants or 1 Italian eggplant (baingan used for bharta) about 850 grams
- 6 tbspns vegetable oil (plus more for cooking)
- 2 tbspns hot sesame oil or use 2 red chillies finely chopped and plain sesame oil
- 6 cloves garlic finely sliced or minced
- 2 inch fresh ginger peeled and julienned
- 3 small onions peeled halved and their petals separated (about 1 cup)
- 1 bunch spicy basil or Thai basil stems removed (use regular Italian basil if Thai basil not available)
- 1/4 cup unsalted roasted cashew halves
- boiling hot water and salt
- Combine in a small bowl-
- 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine, brown rice vinegar or rice wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce (optional)
- 4 teaspoons honey (or to taste)
- 4 tbspns light soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1/4 cup hot water
- more hot sesame oil if required
CUT THE EGGPLANT IN HALF VERTICALLY. SLICE THEM INTO LONG PIECES ABOUT 1 INCH WIDE AND 2 INCHES IN LENGTH.
SET A STOCK POT OF WATER TO BOIL WITH A TEASPOON OF SALT. ADD THE CHOPPED EGGPLANT AND COOK 8 MINUTES or until just tender but holds its shape. DRAIN COMPLETELY. LET EGGPLANT COOL AND WIPE DRY WITH PAPER TOWELS OR A CLEAN KITCHEN CLOTH.
Heat your wide saucepan or cooking pan over medium-FLAME. ADD half the VEGETABLE AND all the HOT OR REGULAR sesame OIL AND SAUTE ONIONS AND GINGER 2-3 MINUTES UNTIL JUST SOFT. IF USINg REGULAR SESAme oil aDd your chillies now.
ADD EGGPLANT AND TOSS WELL .Spread the eggplant out evenly. raise heat, cover and sear the eggplant to give it a smoky flavor for about 2-03 minutes. Remove cover and add remaining vegetable oil and garlic and toss again another 2 minutes. add the mixed sauces and stir until everything is combined. ADD BASIL LEAVES AND cashews TOSS WELL.cook another minute or two, by this time eggplant should be tender. if not
ADD small amount of WATER TO COOK THE EGGPLANT TILL IT IS TENDER WITH A THICK GRAVY.
adjust for salt, sweetness and heat. add more sesame oil or honey if required.
SERVE HOT WITH SHORT GRAINED OR STICKY RICE.