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Friday, February 15, 2008

Spicy eggplant and garlic shoots

Spicy eggplant and garlic shoots

Remember encyclopedias? Do you remember how those big books took up several shelves? This is a very nerdy thing to admit, but when my parents bought us a set of encyclopedias, I read most of the volumes. Nowadays, with Wikigoogle at our fingertips, who needs encyclopedias filling up the bookshelf?

Wikipedia in particular is great. Now, I know there are problems with it: anyone can edit it (gasp), plus it's on the internets and we all know that everything on the internet is a lie. But since I don't look at it when I need 100% accuracy, I reckon it's fab!

For example, if it wasn't for Wiki, I never would have known that:

"Eggplant is richer in nicotine than any other edible plant, with a concentration of 100 ng/g (or 0.01mg/100g). However, the amount of nicotine from eggplant or any other food is negligible compared to passive smoking."

Put that in your aubergine and smoke it.....!

Righto, enough of the bad puns and useless trivia, how about a recipe? I made this dish to use up the second half of the bunch of garlic shoots that I cooked previously. I think that the eggplant worked nicely with the garlic shoots - they were soft against the crunchy shoots and the eggplant also absorbed some of the flavour.

Despite the amount of chilli in the recipe, and the extremely hot vapours that will come out of the wok, the end result isn't actually that spicy. But you're not supposed to eat the chillis. Those little babies will be hot!

Spicy eggplant and garlic shoots

Spicy eggplant and garlic shoots

Serves 4 as part of a multi dish meal

4-5 small eggplants (or a couple of large ones)
1/2 bunch garlic shoots, sliced into 3cm lengths
150g bean sprouts
1 tablespoon peanut oil
A handful of dried whole chillis
Soy sauce

Slice the eggplants into 2-3cm pieces. Steam over a pot of boiling water for approximately 10 minutes, or until they are tender.

Give the garlic shoots and bean sprouts a good rinse, and drain well.

Heat the oil in a hot wok. When the oil is hot, throw in the chillis. They will darken quickly, so watch them! Add the garlic shoots and stir fry for a couple of minutes, until they are tender and start to darken in spots.

Add the bean sprouts and eggplant and swish around for another minute.

Add a splash of soy sauce and mix well to coat the vegetables. Taste – you may want to add more seasoning, but I found that the soy sauce was enough.

Serve with rice.

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