Spicy Eggplant-Basil Noodles
In between stitching projects, I love to make light Asian noodle bowls tossed with lots of veggies for lunch. I adore eggplant too. This healthy and tasty recipe relies on fresh lo mein noodles to make it sing. If you can't find fresh lo mein noodles then dried Chinese, rice or soba noodles will work too. But fresh noodles make the dish special and enticing.
Here, cubes of eggplant are quickly stir fried and hit with plenty of black pepper. The golden brown eggplant is tossed with a perky ginger-soy sauce and tangles of chewy noodles. Basil and a squeeze of juicy lime bring in bright flavors. Sesame oil adds warmth. The sauce is not cloyingly sweet or heavy with corn starch. It's light and lively, just the way I like it. This dish hits all the right tastes and textures. It's great hot or at room temperature, a nice choice for warm weather dining.
Spicy Eggplant-Basil NoodlesServes 4
Fresh lo mein noodles can be found at most Asian markets. They're highly recommended in this recipe. If you can't find them, rice, soba or Chinese noodles will work too.
Wel-Pac Chinese Noodles (also used for making chow mein) is a brand I find in my regular market.
Try not to overcook the noodles.
Removing the seeds and veins of the chili pepper will control the heat.
I use a microplane zester to grate the ginger.
Sometimes I top the noodle bowls with stir fried bean sprouts for crunch.
1 pound of fresh lo mein noodles. You can also use dried rice, soba, ramen or Chinese noodles. 2 large eggplants, peeled and diced into small squares 6 scallions, diced. Reserve the dark green parts for serving2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated A large handful of Thai or regular basil, torn or chopped1-2 limes 5-6 tablespoons of regular or lower sodium soy sauce1 tablespoon of Asian sesame oil, plus more for drizzling1 tablespoon of rice vinegar1 tablespoon of honey or sugar Freshly cracked black pepper to tasteOil for cooking
To Serve: sprinkle of sesame seeds, stir fried bean sprouts, finely sliced chili pepper, sriracha sauce
Cook the noodles according to the package instructions. Sometimes, fresh lo mein noodles will not have instructions. I typically boil them for about 4-5 minutes until al dente. Set aside.
Make the sauce by combining the ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar and honey in a small bowl. Set aside.
Put a good amount of freshly cracked pepper on the eggplant cubes. Place some oil in a large fry pan or wok and stir fry the eggplant on medium to medium high heat until it's cooked and nicely browned. When the eggplant cubes are almost done, add the white and light green parts of the scallions. Cook for another minute or so. Stir in the reserved soy-ginger sauce. Simmer the sauce until it bubbles and reduces a little (about 30 seconds to a minute). Toss in the noodles and warm them through. Squeeze some fresh lime juice over the top of the noodles and drizzle them with a bit of sesame oil. Serve with some of the reserved dark green scallions, more cracked pepper, plenty of fresh basil and any of the above suggestions. A finely sliced red fresno chili pepper is particularly good with this dish.