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30-Minute Vegan's Taste of the East
by Mark Reinfeld & Jennifer Murray

Though abundant in flavor, this dish is light enough to accompany heavier dishes such as Pad Thai, or simply served over rice or quinoa. It also makes an innovative filling for a wrap, hot or cold. Use regular basil if the Thai variety is not available to you.
Serves 3 to 4 as a Main Dish


• 1 tablespoon sesame or safflower oil
• 4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
• 1 to 2 red chile peppers, minced, optional
• 2 medium eggplant, chopped medium (about 6 cups) (see below)
• 1½ cups water
• 1 tablespoon agave nectar
• 2 tablespoons Bragg's Liquid Aminos or soy sauce
• 1/4 to 1/2 cup Thai basil leaves


1. Saute the oil, garlic, and chile pepper over medium heat for 1 minute or until the garlic starts to brown, stirring frequently.

2. Add the eggplant and water, cover and simmer for 8 minutes or until the eggplant is very soft. Add the agave and Bragg's and stir. Continue cooking for a couple of minutes until the eggplant is that perfect edible consistency. Add the basil, stir well, and remove from the heat.


    An old tip for cooking with eggplant is to cut it in irregular shapes of the same size. This makes them easier to turn and helps the eggplant not stick to the pan. Many people prefer to "sweat" the eggplant first, believing this lends a softer, more chewable eggplant. First slice the eggplant, lay the pieces out on a baking tray, and sprinkle with sea salt (kosher if you have it). Let it sit for 15 minutes or longer, then rinse before using in a recipe.


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