Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Steamed Eggplant with Tomato and Ginger

A few days ago I had all these lovely 'dwarf' eggplants from the farmers' market (aren't they adorable?!) - and of course I had to do something wonderful with them, but couldn't think what! I wanted to keep it fresh and light - but also cooked. I had tomatoes in my refrigerator that needed to be used before they went too soft -

Heritage Tomatoes: Brandywine, Striped German and Cherokee Purple.

and half a bunch or so of lovely basil.

One of my favourite cookbooks came to the rescue here - Miyoko Nishimoto's THE NOW AND ZEN EPICURE: Gourmet Cuisine for the Englightened Palate (1991), pictured here in case you can find it in your library or in a second-hand bookshop somewhere (her tofu bourguignon is positively addictive!).

And there she had it: the perfect recipe for my situtation -


I must say I did change it a bit, using the dwarf eggplants, cheating and using jarred garlic and jarred ginger (I needed a shopping trip) and indeed more of it than she suggested, chose a red onion and lots and lots of fresh basil rather than the 1/4 tsp of dried in the recipe, but there you are. I also halved the recipe, since there were just the two of us for lunch and I had designs for the rest of the eggplant.

To serve 2 for lunch:

1 large tomato, chopped (I used a little more than half of one of my huge heritage tomtoes)
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 tsp minced garlic
eggplant equal to 1/2 a medium eggplant (I used the dwarf ones), chopped in chunks but not peeled
1 Tbsp minced ginger root
handful or so of fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
more basil to serve, if you like it as much as we do

I stewed the onion, garlic and ginger in a very litttle water in a pan until the onion was translucent then added the eggplant and tomato and covered (stirring a couple of times to keep an eye on things) until the eggplant was JUST tender but not mushy. It was important not to overcook the eggplant, because it goes mushy very easily. Just as the eggplant was 3 or 4 minutes off being done I added the basil so that the flavours would go throughout. Garnished with more basil, chopped or whole, and served over brown rice it was lovely. I should add that there was neither salt, pepper or oil in the recipe anyway, so I didn't have to do a thing about that :) I did simplify the cooking a little. I'll do this again soon, I think. So simple a dish that lets the flavours of the veggies shine through!