Monday, August 16, 2010

Eggplant Stir Fry

Oh Monday.

I was mortified this past weekend when, while shopping at the farmers' market, someone informed me that Rikki was trying to eat tomatoes out of the bins that were under the tables. I almost died. She also kept going after the same piece of dessicated okra, even though on each try she spit it out as inedible. So stupid.

Anyway, back to my boring life of cooking.  Eggplant is so bountiful and beautiful at the farmers' markets right now, and so meaty, that I can't pass up the opportunity to cook with it before it goes AWOL.  So here's another eggplant recipe, even though *some* people have indicated me that they neither enjoy eggplant nor vegetables.  You know who you are.

Since I just made an Italian-style eggplant dish, I wanted to do something different this time around.  I looked through some of my cookbooks and eventually found an intriguing recipe in The Best Recipe by Cook's Illustrated--Sauteed Eggplant with Garlic Sauce.  

Seeing as how I want this to provide some leftovers for lunch for me and Kevin, I bulked up the recipe by adding sliced onion, which I absolutely adore in stir-frys as long as it's not overcooked, and some peppers (they happened to have some at the market). But you could add whatever kind of vegetable or protein that you wanted.

Here are the ingredients for the original recipe with my additions/revisions in italics.

  • 1 1/2 lbs eggplant, ends trimmed and cut into 3/4 inch cubes (I used little itty bitty eggplants)
  • 1 TBS kosher salt
  • 2 TBS peanut or vegetable oil (basically you're looking for an oil with a high smoking point, so I used safflower, having neither peanut nor vegetable--olive oil has a lower smoking point, but I don't think this dish will be a disaster if you use olive oil as long as you don't turn the heat too high for too long)
  • 2 medium cubanelle peppers (also called Anaheim peppers), cut into 1/4 inch by 2 inch strips (you could also use bell peppers)
  • 1 medium onion, halved and sliced
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced (2 cloves)
  • 2 tsp minced ginger (about 2 1/2 tsp)
  • 2 TBS soy sauce (3 TBS)
  • 2 TBS rice wine vinegar (3 TBS)
  • 1 tsp sugar (about 1 1/2 tsp)
  • 2 TBS minced cilantro leaves (this turned out to be too much for me and I didn't use it all)
  • 2 TBS thinly sliced scallions/green onions (meh, a touch more)
Serves 4 (about 6 servings)

I made this recipe over a couple of days because I was already making another dish on the day that I started.  I prepped the ingredients on Day 1 and did all the cooking on Day 2. You can do this dish in one night, but I'm going to list out what I did in parts.

Day 1
Okay my pretties let's chop and slice.

First, cut the eggplant.  The recipe says to chop them into 3/4 inch dice. I cut the little eggplants in half crosswise, then halved them lengthwise, to create long...prisms, if you will.  Cut up the eggplant however you like, but try to keep the thickness to 3/4 inch or less, otherwise it will be very difficult to saute and cook the eggplant all the way through. 

Place the eggplant into a colander and sprinkle with the 1 TBS salt.  Toss, and let sit for 30 minutes. This is to draw out the excess moisture so that when you cook the eggplant in oil, it cooks more quickly and doesn't absorb as much oil. Or something like that. I was tempted to just go ahead and cook it without the salting step, but I was doing this recipe over a few days so I decided why not.  

After the 30 minutes, rinse with water, squeeze with paper or cotton towel to remove excess moisture.  At this point I put them in a Tupperware to store until the next day to cook.

Prep your other ingredients.  Mince your garlic and ginger. 

Mince/slice cilantro and green onions.

Slice the onion and Anaheim peppers.  I find few greater pleasures than slicing onions.   I love the sound, feel, and ease of it.  Oh I wax poetic.  Store all your ingredients in the fridge.

Day 2
Mix together soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and sugar.

Heat the 2 TBS oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat.  Throw in the eggplant and cook, stirring frequently, for about 4 minutes.  Lower heat to medium-low, and continue cooking until brown and cooked through, about 10-15 minutes.

At this point the recipe moved onto the garlic-ginger and the soy sauce mixture, but I had the onions and peppers, remember? Okay so after the eggplant was cooked, I removed it from the pan.  I added a few extra tsp of oil to the pan, turned the heat back up to med-high, and threw in the onion.  

I sauteed the onion for about 2 minutes, then threw in the peppers.  Lower the heat to medium or so and cook for another couple of minutes, until you get the texture you desire. I tend to like everything crunchy, so I tried not to overdo it.

Put the eggplant back into the skillet.  Now we return to our originally scheduled programming (i.e. the Cook's Illustrated recipe).  Toss in the garlic/ginger and stir for about 1 minute.

Then pour in the soy sauce mixture and cook for about 1 minute more.

Take skillet off heat and mix in the green onions and cilantro to taste.  As I mentioned, 2 TBS of cilantro was a bit much for me so I cut back.

Serve on top of rice.  Why not.

Yes, that's my shadow looming ominously over the bowl of eggplant.  Come to me eggplant.



  1. Although I "neither enjoy eggplant nor vegetables" (ahem), I must admit this looks pretty good. And LOL at Rikki - oh, Rikki.

  2. maybe if you fed your starving pug, she wouldn't have to forage at the market. poor pug. send her to me. she clearly is crying out for some sausage.

    you actually make the eggplants look kind of appetizing. impressive.

  3. This looks really good! I can't wait to try it out! I made your Baked Eggplant Parm last week and loved it! My brother the chef was visiting and he ate all the leftovers too!

  4. That sounds like something my dog would do! He steals food and spits it out. Haha

  5. Oh Rikki!! I love that dog! And I think the eggplant looks awesome.

  6. Guess what I'm eating for dinner right now? A bowl of peanut butter with chocolate chips in it. Take a bow, lady, this is because of you!

  7. I am definitely intrigued with this recipe! I recently made a stir fry with ginger, zucchini, chicken, and black beans and it was killer...but I hadn't thought to use eggplant in a stir fry yet! I love eggplant, and I'm going to cry when it goes out of season.

    And yes...the salting the eggplant trick is a must! I seriously didn't believe it until I tried it, and it really does cook faster...and I swear it just tastes better (but I am sure that part is simply in my mind...)