Jamaican Stir Fried Eggplant

Oh my friends. Where do we begin? I promised myself I would get this out to you within the next hour so I could return to that most beloved of acts, reading. But the word and all its magic has taken quite the toll on me this past week, as I have never been so overwhelmed with such a deluge in recent years! the short of it: grad school is demanding! It dares to challenge my love affair with words (second only to that for my husband though it does fluctuate spots with food. Words or food? Food or words? I love them equally!). Of course, I am thoroughly enjoying myself, but at the same time I have never imbibed so much theoretical text coupled with philosophical writing along with a Thomas Hardy novel in so short a period of time! My brain, she hurts a wee bit.

So I purposely set myself to write this up for you, because my lovely little eggplant dish which I may have raved about at an earlier time has been pouting at me with forlorn eyes, wishing to be shared, desperate for worldwide web attention. I do have a Litereature post brewing in the works (Oh if I had a cauldron! I could actually brew something! Halloween approacheth, and there are plenty of awesome witchy stories…. alas, another lifetime perhaps. Unless you want to buy me a cauldron?). It helps that I am now working, at least for the semester, within the Center for the Study of Children’s Literature at school, and will be limitlessly exposed to all sorts of kids/Young Adult books! I dream of all the food/book connections I could come up with…Ok I digress. Life is good. I still need a sofa or something, but life is good. And busy. Anyone who knows me knows that the biggest problem I am currently having (as I have always had) is actually voicing my thoughts, speaking up, giving presentations, anything verbal at all. Hecks, if I could write a script for someone to recite, that would be better. But even then I’d want to run out of the room and hide in a broom closet lest I see people’s reactions to my work. *Sigh* How do I even blog? I don’t know. But those panic attacks and anxious trembling episodes aside, I am enjoying where I am, and I feel like it will be a profitable venture both for my academic nourishment and my gourmet growth (I am loving all the farmers markets!).

This dish was one of the first I made, along with the Habanero Tofu Salad, and I was ridiculously surprised at how succulent the eggplant turned out. I’ve been having some difficulty learning to manage an electric stove versus my former gas stove, but as long as I keep an eye on it, then the heat management isn’t too much of an issue. Thus I’ve had to cut back on multitasking, a tragic loss for me in the kitchen, where you might otherwise see me flying in a blur between sink, stove, and cabinet. That’s okay, I generally like to live life at a slow and tranquil pace, why not apply that to my kitchen doings?

But I digress. And I haven’t the time to…

Ingredients

  • 2 long (Chinese) Eggplants
  • ½ inch ginger, grated (1 tsp ginger paste)
  • 1/4 inch ginger, thinly sliced/slivered
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • salt, as needed
  • Coriander leaves

Eggplant Marinade:

  • 1 tsp chili garlic sauce (I used the same Vietnamese brand that makes Sri Racha sauce)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1-1 ½ tsp Jamaican Jerk Seasoning

Sauce:

  • 2 tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 1 tsp chili garlic sauce
  • drizzle of honey (about 1 tsp)
  • 1/2 tsp lemon vinegar (or rice vinegar if you can’t find this, plus a tiny squeeze of lemon)

In two separate bowls, mix the marinade and sauce ingredients and set both aside. Rinse the eggplants, and chop them into 1 ½ – 2 inch slivers (Cut in half length wise, the cut the two halves lengthwise, and chop into long wedges. Make sense?)

Sprinkle the eggplant with a little salt on all sides, and then mix into the marinade, setting aside to slice the other veggies. Now, I don’t have a wok which would be ideal (as it attains an extremely high temperature) so these directions are all with a large frying pan, using Extra Light Olive Oil. Heat the pan on high and add 2 tbsp of oil. While heating up, add the ginger paste and mix thoroughly. Once it started to really sizzle, add the eggplant and stir fry for 8 minutes on high. Next, throw in the onions, peppers, and the slivered ginger, and fry for another 3-4 minutes. Make sure to mix frequently so nothing burns.

At this point reduce the heat to medium (bordering on medium-low), cover the pan, and let the vegetables steam a little for 5 minutes, after which you remove the lid and let it cook for another 5-6 minutes. Your veggies should all have been cooked down to a nice moist texture, but not completely degraded. To get a slight crisp on the outside, turn the heat up to high one last time and fry for 5-8 minutes. Remove the pan from heat.

Now, take the sauce you mixed earlier, give it a good stir again, and pour into the pan, tossing carefully to ensure everything gets a nice tangy coating. Add some coriander leaves for garnish and a fresh taste, and voila! Jamaican Stir Fried Eggplant! is turned out to be one of the softest eggplant dishes I’ve made in a long while. Might be the use of the Chinese eggplants, a different variety from the usual fatty large round ones I usually find.

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