Whenever my parents took us to Chinese restaurants as a kid, I would only order beef and broccoli. I was too stubborn to ever branch out and try something new. There was something about it that I couldn’t get enough of and that something was broccoli. Weird for a little kid right? How many 5 year old children do you know that would profess a love for broccoli? I found a note that I wrote to my mom when I was about 6 or 7. The note asked her to get me broccoli from the store. Eventually my parents had to stop taking me to these restaurants. I had a habit of biting into the water glass.
As I grew older, my food horizons expanded. I also became addicted to Thai food, especially the dishes with eggplant. There is a Thai place near my house and they have a fantastic eggplant dish, although it does depend on which cook is working at the time. Sometimes it is perfect, other times it is way to oily. I haven’t had beef and broccoli in years since I had become vegetarian and eventually vegan. However, I continue to find Asian style broccoli and eggplant dishes absolutely delicious. This is a recipe I made to combine the two. I hope you enjoy it. As always, you don’t need to follow the recipe exactly. I strongly believe that food should taste good. Modify this as needed to your tastes. If you want it more oily, by all means add more oil. If you want a higher ratio of broccoli or eggplant, then increase the proportions to your needs. I see the recipe as a general guideline which can then be built upon for your own satisfaction.
Just a note, since eggplant is spongy it can soak up a lot of oil. Keep this in mind when adding oil. You can always add some water instead of more oil to keep the amount of oil down. After all, the oil in this recipe is to add a hint of sesame flavor and to saute the onion, garlic, and ginger.
Broccoli and Eggplant Stir-Fry
Yield: 2-4 servings
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
10-12 oz broccoli florets, broken up into bite size
1 Japanese eggplant, halved then sliced
3 Tbsp. toasted sesame seed oil
5-6 Tbsp. tamari
3 tsp. rice vinegar
2 Tbsp. water
red pepper flakes (optional)
1. Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a wok, add garlic and ginger, saute for 1 minute over medium heat.
2. Add onion and saute for 2 minutes.
3. Add eggplant and 2 Tbsp. oil. Saute and stir for 2 minutes. (The eggplant will really soak up a lot of oil, so if you want to keep the oil down, be aware of this).
4. Add broccoli. Stir and cook for 2 more minutes.
5. Add tamari and rice vinegar, cover and stir occasionally for 5-7 minutes. (The goal here is to steam the eggplant and vegetables with the heat from the minimal liquid that was just put in. I even added 2 Tbsp. of water because all the liquids were absorbed, I didn’t want the vegetables to stick, and I didn’t want any more of the oil or tamari to be put in).
6. Check the broccoli for desired tenderness. (I prefer my broccoli on the crisper side. Some places over cook the hell out of broccoli and you end up with grossly mushy broccoli. When it is cooked to your liking, turn off the flame.)
Enjoy over some brown rice or your grain of choice and top with red pepper flakes (If spicy is your thing. It definitely is for me.)
If you try this and make a variation, then let me know, I’d love to hear about it.