Thai Eggplant

Sean cracked me up the other night.  The kids came into the kitchen and started asking the eternal question, “What’s for dinner?”  Of course, I replied, “Food.”  This usually starts a funny banter with all three of my kids chiming in, but this time Sean interceded and said, “Is it ‘Blog’ food?”  Lol…I guess, of late, I have taken to cooking dinner with my camera close at hand.  Hey, early in my marriage I had to come to terms with the FACT that dinnertime was gonna come every night whether I was ready and willing, or not.  I guess that nowadays I have found super satisfaction with the ability to multitask even this reality of my life.  So, now, it’s “Blog” food for dinner…hey, at least it ain’t Blah food.  (Oh, and Sean wanted me to tell y’all that “Blog” food must be said with your quotation fingers at the ready 🙂 )

I am a firm believer that texture is an important aspect to good food.  With that in mind, your chopping skills are super important.  With this dish, the smaller the better.  I decided to chop up my two eggplants into 1/2 inch cubes before I threw them into a hot skillet with coconut oil.  You can even go for a 1/4 inch chop.Here, I left the onion chopped rather rough.  Feel free to go smaller, but I figured that the onion would cook away to a silky texture, so it didn’t need to go super small.Time to get to mincing!  I minced up four cloves of garlic and a good two-inch nugget of ginger.  Oh, and if you have ever gone to the trouble of peeling ginger before mincing, don’t bother.  Yes, you can use a spoon to scrape the skin away easily, but why take the time.  When you are mincing and simmering, the skin makes no difference.  Yay for time-savers!I believe I told you about my mad skills at opening cans and dumping…here I am in ACTION!I love to use the canned whole tomatoes for dishes that I simmer away…maybe it is the comfort of recognizing the food for what it is (an obvious Roma tomato) or maybe it’s just that I love jabbing and stabbing with my wood spoon, on the way to creating the perfect texture.  Who cares, it’s fun….and yummy!

Whoah, look out, I’m bustin’ out another can 🙂 .  This stuff is awesome…coconut cream gives this dish such a lushness that you are totally psyched into thinking you are eating a cream dish.  (Btw, mix this stuff with some sugar and chocolate and you have an AH.MAZING vegan chocolate mousse…with no cooking time! Yum.)

Enough shenanigans…it’s time for some ZEST!

Remember, one of the most important elements of any Asian dish, is the Ying and Yang…you have to balance the sour with the sweet.  So, follow the juice of one lemon with a 1/4 teaspoon of sugar.  Then, add in some cumin, cinnamon and cayenne.  Now, time for some fresh herbs to make the Thai vibe complete.Of course, you can always add in a fresh bunch of cilantro and basil…but I was out.  Enter one of my favorite things to keep in my freezer, frozen fresh herbs (oxymoron for sure).  They are in tidy little one teaspoon squares, already minced….oh, and they never get slimy. 🙂  Just pop them out and mix ’em in.The fresh herbs were the last flavor step…now it’s time to heap up some hot rice and ladle up some creamy, delicious Thai Eggplant.  I topped it with some fresh green onions and sesame seeds…great for color and taste.  The best part about this dish is how the creamy sauce drips down into the rice and coats it with luscious flavor.

I hope you give this vegan, gluten free dish a try.  It’s a great weekday plate of “Blog” food 🙂

~Chanda

Thai Eggplant

  • two smaller eggplants, diced into 1/4-1/2 cubes
  • one small onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 inch piece of ginger, minced
  • 2 tbls coconut oil
  • 1 large can of tomatoes, whole or crushed
  • 1 can of coconut cream, or coconut milk
  • one lemon, zest and juice
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • cayenne, a dash or more, depending on your spice level
  • a dash of cinnamon
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, minced, or 5 cubes of frozen
  • 1 bunch of basil, minced, or 5 cubes of frozen
  • green onion, for garnish optional
  • sesame seeds, for garnish optional

Saute the eggplant, onion, garlic and ginger in the coconut oil.  After they have softened, add the tomatoes, coconut cream, spices and salt to taste.  Let it simmer away until the eggplant has softened further, approximately 15 minutes.  Just before you are ready to dish up, add the fresh/frozen herbs and mix well.  Now, ladle up the deliciousness on top of a mound of hot rice or noodles.  Garnish with the green onion and sesame seeds.  Bon apetit!

 

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