The key to this recipe is speed: the vegetables need little more than a quick toss in wok. For best results, use to use firm, unblemished, pale purple Chinese eggplant; don't use a big round Mediterranean one, or the texture will be a bit off. Adjust the balance of sweet, spicy and salty elements to your liking. Start to finish: 30 min
- 3 medium-sized Chinese eggplants, halved and chopped into 1"-1.5" pieces
- 1 large red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
- 1 large green bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
- 1 medium onion, chopped into large pieces
- 3 Thai or serrano chiles, finely chopped
- 3 tbsp chopped garlic (we added 2 extra garlic cloves)
- a generous handful of fresh Thai basil leaves, roughly chopped (we added an extra handful)
- 4 tbsp mild-flavoured oil (we used grape seed)
- 2-3 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1-2 tbsp brown or palm sugar (we used 2 tbsp maple syrup instead)
- 3/4 cup warm water
- 2 tsp corn starch mixed with 4 tbsp cold water
- Mix fish sauce, soy, water and brown sugar; set aside.
- Heat wok on medium-high heat. Add 2 tbsp oil, and eggplants. Fry for 2 minutes on either side, or until they begin to brown and turn soft. Remove from wok.
- Add 1 tbsp oil to wok. Add onions, and fry for 3-4 minutes, or until soft and glossy. Remove from wok.
- Heat remaining oil. Add garlic and chiles, and fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add sliced pepers and onions; fry for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Return eggplant to the wok, and toss to combine.
- Add sauce to the wok, stirring for 1 minute. Toss in basil.
- Add corn starch, cooking until the sauce becomes thick and coats the vegetables. Serve immediately over hot rice.