As someone who loves food people tend to ask me what my favourite food is. I struggle with my response because I love all the food! However, there is one restaurant I keep going back to for one meal: spicy eggplant. I can’t get enough of it! So, I’ve decided to officially declare spicy eggplant as my favourite food! And today, I’m going to share my recipe for this epic dish!
Eggplant can seem like a difficult vegetable to cook. If you’ve ever made it yourself, you will know it needs to be cooked properly, otherwise it won’t taste good (it may not even taste edible). No worries, there are just a couple extra steps to take to make your eggplant taste perfect!
To start, slice the eggplant into wedges that are a few inches long. Place the sliced eggplant into a bowl and toss it with a tablespoon of salt. It does seem like a lot of salt, but we will be washing it off later. The salt helps to draw out the bitter compounds found in eggplant.
Cover the salted eggplant with water while you prepare the rest of the veggies. Slice the mushrooms, cut the bell pepper into strips, and dice the green onion.
Next, prepare the sauce by whisking all the sauce ingredients together. I find it helpful to place all the ingredients into a container and shaking them together.
Now is the perfect time to start making the coconut rice to serve with your spicy eggplant. Mix the water, coconut milk and rice into a pot, bring to a boil, turn the heat down to a simmer, place a lid on the pot and cook for 15 minutes. You can also use a rice cooker if you have one. Keep an eye on the rice while you make the rest of the meal.
You can use a full fat or lower fat can of coconut milk, depending on how rich and creamy you want your rice. If you want to make it very decadent, you can use 2 cans of coconut milk and just 200 mL water.
Now that everything is ready to go, drain and rinse your eggplant that has been soaking in the salt water. Give it a few good rinses to get as much salt off as possible.
Next, you need to cook the eggplant. Melt some coconut oil into a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the eggplant. Let it cook until it is tender all the way through. If you poke a fork through the eggplant and it feels spongy, it’s not ready yet.
Once the eggplant is cooked, remove it from the pan and add in the peppers, mushrooms and green onion. Let that cook for 5 minutes. Now add in the sauce and eggplant. Let this simmer for at least 5 minutes, up to 15 minutes.
Wash and slice the Thai basil and stir it into the eggplant right before serving. I highly recommend using Thai basil for this recipe because it has a distinct flavour that really makes this dish what it is. You can find Thai basil at an Asian grocery store and sometimes I even find it at large supermarkets. Regular basil has a different taste profile but it is a good alternative if you can’t find Thai basil.
Serve the eggplant alongside your coconut rice and enjoy! Let me know what you think about my favourite meal in the comments below!
- 3 medium Japanese eggplants (the longer variety)
- 1 tbsp salt
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 package cremini mushrooms (about 225g)
- 2 bell peppers (I used 1 red and 1 yellow)
- 4 green onions
- 1 bunch Thai basil (about ½ C chopped)
- • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
- • 2 tbsp chili paste
- • ¼ C sweet chili sauce
- • ¼ C brown sugar (or coconut sugar)
- • 3 tsp sesame oil
- • 2 tbsp tamari
- • 1 tbsp soy sauce (or more tamari for gluten free)
- • 3 tsp yellow miso paste (optional)
- • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- • 3 tbsp cooking sherry
- • ¼ C vegetable broth (could also use water)
- Coconut rice:
- • 2 C white basmati rice
- • 1 can (400mL) coconut milk
- • 600 mL water
- Slice the eggplant into wedges and place into a bowl. Toss with a tablespoon of salt. Cover with water.
- Slice the mushrooms, cut the bell pepper into strips, and dice the green onion.
- Whisk all the sauce ingredients together.
- Prepare the coconut rice: place the 2 C rice in a pot; add in the can of coconut milk plus 600 mL water. Bring the pot to a boil, turn the heat down to a simmer, place a lid on the pot and cook for 15 minutes. Keep an eye on the rice while you prepare the rest of the meal.
- Drain and rinse your eggplant a few times.
- Melt the coconut oil into a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the eggplant. Let it cook until it is tender all the way through (can easily poke a fork through it with no spongy sections).
- Remove eggplant from pan and add in the peppers, mushrooms and green onion. Cook for 5 minutes. Add in the sauce and eggplant. Let simmer for at least 5 minutes, up to 15 minutes.
- Wash and slice the Thai basil and stir it into the eggplant right before serving.
- Serve alongside the coconut rice.