This recipe was born of necessity. It was one of those “throw something together from the contents of your fridge” nights. A co-worker had given me an eggplant from her garden, and I had pad Thai noodles and a bunch of sauces in the fridge. I also had basil and garlic. It was a rainy night, and I was craving spicy comfort food.
Thus, eggplant noodles with basil and garlic. I added green bell peppers for an extra dose of veggies, and the oyster sauce gives it that deep umami flavor. The eggplant caramelizes a little, and the spices and lime make everything pop. So good with a cold beer.
Eggplant Basil Noodles
This recipe is loaded with veggies and pork and oh-so-satisfying.
- 2 tablespoons olive, peanut or sesame oil, divided
- 1 pound ground pork or chicken
- Dash salt
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large shallot, sliced crosswise
- 2 green bell peppers, chopped
- 1 medium eggplant, chopped into ½-inch cubes
- 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon sriracha
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- White pepper to taste
- 10 leaves fresh Thai basil, roughly chopped (about 5 tablespoons)
- 8 ounces rice noodles, preferably pad Thai noodles
- 2 limes, quartered
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in large wok over medium-high heat. Add pork or chicken and a dash of salt and brown meat, stirring and breaking up pieces until meat is half browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Reduce heat to low and add second tablespoon of oil and shallots. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
- Turn up heat to medium and return meat to pan until cooked through.
- Add bell pepper and eggplant and cook 5 minutes, stirring regularly.
- Add oyster sauce, sriracha, ginger and pepper. Cook until peppers are just soft, 2-5 minutes more.
- Meanwhile, cook noodles according to package directions and add into wok a little at a time, stirring well to incorporate.
- Add basil and squeeze one lime quarter over noodles. Stir and cook 1 more minute. Serve with a wedge of lime and sriracha.
Notes: Tofu can be subbed for the meat; just wait to add tofu with oyster sauce. To make truly vegetarian, sub vegetarian stir-fry sauce for oyster sauce. For basil and ginger, fresh is better, but dried will work in a pinch. Black pepper can be used in place of white pepper — just use a little less, as black pepper is more pungent.