Being in Honolulu, it is a given that I will spend time in Chinatown. (Yes, I am in Hawaii, but we will get to that at another time) I have found that the vegetable and fruit stands in Maunakea Marketplace are a great spot to not only see what is in season but also to find ingredients that are obscure to those that do not dabble in Asian cuisine.
So this week, soaking up the sights, I came across a little bag of green spherical shaped vegetables. Upon inquiring, I was informed that they were Thai eggplants. A half pound bag cost $1. I immediately sensed an experiment worthy of Our Growing Edge developing.
For once I thought I’d walk the road of not researching before cooking an ingredient that is unfamiliar to me. The salesperson told me that the eggplants cook quickly and that most people use them in curry. I picked up my small bag of goodies and headed home.
As I tried to decide what to make with my new acquisition, it also occurred to me that as a teacher I have many students ask me how to cook with what they have on hand. Sometimes, you just want to cook and do not have time to go out and shop. So I skipped the grocery store, headed straight to the house.
I scoured the refrigerator and decided to make a stir-fry. I find that if you are not sure how flavors will mix together, stir-fry is a good way to go. Limit the seasoning to salt and pepper so you can get an idea of the individual flavor of each component and if for some reason something in the stir-fry doesn’t strike your fancy, it is pretty easy to pick out and put on the side of your plate. You can ask my younger sisters who seem to be experts at this particular exercise.
My refrigerator and pantry were luckily, well stocked. I chose quinoa as my base starch. I used every vegetable I had on hand: corn, jicama, purple onion and of course my Thai eggplant. I am not opposed to vegetarian dishes, but I am a meat lover through and through. When I spotted pineapple sausage in the meat drawer I knew it had to make an appearance in my stir-fry,
The host of this month’s Our Growing Edge, Dana from I’ve Got Cake also created a blog as a way of holding herself accountable in her journey to learning about herself. Dana however does it much more stylishly than I do. I invite all my readers to check her out and also share any experiences making something on the fly at home. Or better yet… join us at Our Growing Edge.
My consensus on the Thai eggplant was the flavor is much milder and remarkably less bitter than regular eggplant. I think it would taste great in a coconut milk based sauce. I stir-fried it for a total of 8 minutes, but would recommend 10 – 12 minutes. It is definitely a vegetable I wish I had regular access to, it keeps its color very well and texturally it stays pleasantly firm. All in all I would say my experimenting was a success based on the fact that I learned something new.
Happy Edge Growing Ya’ll!