Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Inspired by Basil
Released from incarceration by a break in the rain, I dashed into the soggy garden and gathered one huge ripe jackfruit, 3 pomelos, a bowl of kalamansi (little round green limes known as calomondin to botanists) and a bunch of intensely fragrant Thai basil growing wild amidst the long grass.
Last night, the basil inspired me to prepare a Chinese aubergine/eggplant dish that I seldom made because the aubergine is deep-fried. Don't stop reading! If you have the temperature high and drain the aubergine thoroughly, it's not too oily, and the flavour and texture is excellent.
AUBERGINE WITH THAI BASIL
3-4 long slender Asian aubergines
plenty of ordinary olive oil (not EV)
3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1-2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1-2 teaspoons sugar
large pinch of salt
handful of Thai basil, stalks discarded
Roll-cut the aubergine by laying it on the board, cutting in about 3-4 cm length, rolling the uncut portion 180 degrees, cutting again. Repeat this until you have a pile of wedges. Or if I haven't explained the technique correctly, just cut across diagonally in 3-4 cm lengths.
Heat a generous amount of oil in a wok. when hot (but not smoking, you don't want the vegie to burn), add a small handful of aubergine wedges and fry, stirring occasionally, until it is golden and soft — about 3-4 minutes. Drain well on paper towel and repeat until all the vegie is cooked.
Tip out all but a smidgen of oil, reheat the pan and gently fry the garlic for a few seconds. Put back the fried aubergine and stir fry for a moment or so. Splash with soy sauce, add sugar and salt, then stir in the basil just until it wilts. Serve hot. (Left-overs are great at room temperature for lunch the next day.)
Posted by Wendy Hutton at 2:26 PM