I’m still on a Thai kick this week, and of course, it’s because I had a few eggplants from the CSA, which for me lend themselves to Asian cuisine. I never get tired of the balance of sweet and spicy, acid and salinity in Thai cooking. It always slaps. And who doesn’t love the gorgeous Long Asian eggplants that Rainshadow grows? (drool). They have more dense and taut fibers, that when prepared hold up far better than the big gourd shaped version you see in American stores. Perhaps you’ve heard me talk about anthocyanins before, but they pack a real nutritional punch, and these eggplants are chock full! Paired with Thai basil, you’ve got an antioxidant powerhouse.
I usually make this dish with chicken, but you know the CSA is big on ground beef, so here we are, using it again. It’s a salty, unctuous dish, and perfectly balanced when served over steamed jasmine rice. Also I have been so busy with moving lately, so it’s even better that this dish is certified fast and easy, and keeps well if you double the batch (queen of leftovers, over here) I hope you enjoy!
Pad Prik Pao Ma Ku (Thai Spicy Eggplant with Beef)
1 lb Long Asian Eggplant, sliced half inch
1 lb ground beef
1 head choy, chopped to one inch
1 cup mung bean sprouts
1 bunch thai basil leaves
1 bunch green onions, sliced
1 cup jasmine rice, steamed with water
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 Thai chilies
1 Tbsp minced ginger
2 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 Tbsp fish sauce
2 Tbsp avocado oil
Put the sliced eggplant into a colander and salt generously. Let sit for a half hour while you prepare the rest of the meal.
Steam jasmine rice according to their directions and use a steamer, because it’s just so much easier!
Brown ground beef with no seasoning in a skillet or wok on medium high heat, about 6 minutes. Pour into a dish and set aside.
With a blender (I use a stick blender), add all ingredients of ‘The Sauce’ and puree to smooth.
Rinse the eggplant of salt and pour onto a kitchen towel. Try to press out some of the water.
On high heat (make sure the pan is hot!), add a splash of avocado oil and the eggplant and toss once every 30 seconds for 4 minutes.
Add ground beef, choy, and the sauce. Toss for 1 minute.
Add Thai basil, green onion, and sprouts. Toss to wilt and incorporate flavors.
Serve immediately over steamed jasmine rice.