I’ve never cooked Thai food before, but when I found beautiful slender eggplants and fresh basil at the farmer’s market this weekend, I knew I had to give it a go. The recipes I saw for Basil Eggplant were pretty consistent, involving eggplant seasoned with garlic, fresh chili peppers, fish sauce, sugar, and Thai basil, served on white rice. In my pantry I had dry Szechuan chili peppers and the type of basil ordinarily destined for pesto, but I didn’t have any rice. I did have vermicelli noodles, which I imagined with some Madras curry. One voice in my head, the voice of Authenticity, said sternly, “Don’t you dare make a classic Thai dish with Chinese peppers, Italian basil, and Indian curry.” Another voice, the voice of Freedom, said, “It’ll still be delicious — why not?” I decided to go for it and was glad I did. This dish was vibrant, soulful, and — taking only 15 minutes to prepare — a definite keeper.



3 small bundles (4 g) of dried vermicelli noodles
a few tablespoons of your favorite curry powder/sauce
grapeseed or vegetable oil
4 cloves of garlic, peeled & sliced
2 fresh (or 4 dried) chili peppers, sliced
3 Japanese eggplants, roll-cut
about 2 tbsp. fish sauce mixed with 1 tbsp. sugar
a pinch of salt
a heaping handful of fresh basil leaves

Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the vermicelli, cooking for 2-3 minutes. Drain the vermicelli but retain about 1/2 a cup of the hot water. Stir in a few tablespoons of curry (how much will depend on the type of curry powder/sauce you’re using), adding more until it’s to your taste. (I preferred a subdued curry vermicelli, but you can add soy sauce and chili oil if you like) Stir in a teaspoon of grapeseed oil. Heat oil on medium-high heat in a large wok or non-stick frying pan. Add the garlic and chili peppers and fry until fragrant. Add the eggplant along with a cup of water and cover for 5-7 minutes until all the water is absorbed and the eggplant is translucent. If needed, add a bit more water and cover again to finish cooking the eggplant. Now gently stir in the fish sauce-sugar mixture plus a pinch of salt and cook for 1-2 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the basil leaves. Serve the basil eggplant on top of the curried vermicelli noodles.





Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s