There is a seasonal eggplant dish I absolutely love at Mae Nam in Vancouver. On their menu, it says that the eggplant is fried with fermented bean paste (I'm assuming with something like miso). Doing a quick internet search didn't turn up anything, so I decided to give it a try using one of many recipes without the bean paste.
I had globe eggplants on hand. Some websites said globe eggplants would be fine in this dish, other said the skin would be too thick, or that the texture wouldn't be very good. I found that using globe eggplants didn't affect the texture much, but the skin was noticeable. The skin wasn't too hard or tough, but it was just... there. I definitely think I'll use the skinny eggplants next time.
The original recipe didn't call for ginger, but I added it in, and I think it gave the dish an extra something. I also added dried red chili flakes because I forgot to grab fresh chilies at the market earlier today.
I also added some fresh red bell pepper (it was starting to get a bit wrinkly) and some blanched green beans, too. The result was a fragrant dish that was slightly salty, zingy from the ginger, a little fiery from the chilies, and just overall tasty!
So here it is!
Eggplant Stirfry (Pud Makua Yow)
Adapted from http://www.thaitable.com/Thai/recipes/Basil_Eggplant.htm
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 bunch thai basil
1 tbsp sugar
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 asian eggplants
2 chili peppers
3/4 inch piece of ginger, finely chopped
1/4 red bell pepper, sliced
1 handful blanched green beans
Slice the eggplants into irregular shapes for easy turning in the pan. When it's sliced into a small disk, it tends to stick to the bottom of the pan and makes it difficult to flip or turn.
Chop garlic (and ginger, if using) and slice chili peppers. Pick the leaves from the stem of the Thai basil.
Heat a pan or wok over high or medium high. Add oil, chili peppers and garlic. Stir until the garlic turns golden brown. Add eggplant and stir to coat. Add 3/4 cup of water and cover the pan or wok with a lid. Keep the lid close until the eggplant is cooked. It should take about 5-7 minutes before the eggplant is done. The eggplant turns from white to translucent when it is done. Almost all of the water should have been evaporated at this point. If the eggplant is still not cooked, add a little bit more water and keep lid closed until the eggplant is ready. Add fish sauce and sugar and stir. Add Thai basil and quickly stir to heat the basil, so that it retains it color. Turn off heat immediately.
Serve hot with rice.