I really operated this more as a raw-ish stir fry, serving over rice to make it extra satisfying as a veggie dish. The original recipe has been adapted in quantities to serve two, and I’ve included my modifications to help balance the overwhelming tang of the lime juice base in the dressing. Since I couldn’t acquire a fresh Thai chile, I went with tiny red chiles I found at Whole Foods, who, in their description, recommended using it as you would a jalapeno. As a result, I probably ended up with slightly less spice than if you used a Thai chile.
- 1 eggplant (about 1 1/4 lbs.)
- 6 limes
- 1/2 red Thai (or other small red) chili
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 small lemon
- 1/2 avocado (or 1 mini)
- 1 medium carrot
- 1/2 English or hot house cucumber
- 1 C cherry or grape tomatoes
- 1/4 medium red onion
- Small bunch of cilantro
- 2 T tamari or soy sauce
- 2 t brown sugar or honey
- 1 T natural sunflower seed or peanut butter
- 1 t toasted sesame oil
- 1/4 C dry roasted peanuts or roasted cashews
- 1/2 to 1 C dry basmati or jasmine rice
- Grill or roast the washed eggplant. If using a gas flame, place eggplant on burner and light to a medium flame. Make sure the flames don’t surround the eggplant, but just hit the bottom of it. As the eggplant chars in one spot, use a tongs to continually move it, exposing uncooked portions to the flame. Stand the eggplant up and hold with the tongs for a minute or two to expose the bottom to the flame. When charred and heavy, set aside to cool.
- Make the rice according to package instructions. Basmati and jasmine typically cook in 15 to 20 minutes. When done, fluff and cover for serving.
- While the rice cooks: 1) wash and zest one lime for 1/2 t lime zest; 2) juice limes for 1/4 C lime juice (into a glass liquid measuring cup if available); 3) mince the chile and the garlic clove; and 4) wash and zest the lemon for 1/2 t lemon zest.
- Make the dressing. To the lime juice, add lime zest, chile, garlic, lemon zest, soy sauce, brown sugar, seed or nut butter, and sesame oil and whisk or stir quickly with a fork.
- Cut the top off the eggplant and halve lengthwise. Use your hands (if cool enough) or a fork to tear out strips of eggplant, discarding the large groups of seeds as you go. Put the eggplant in a bowl and coat with 2 tablespoons of the dressing. The warm eggplant will soak up the flavor of the dressing. Set aside while you prep the veggies.
- Prepare and arrange on a large plate or serving platter: avocado, pitted and peeled, sliced, and drizzled with a little lime or lemon juice to keep from discoloring; carrot, peeled and cut into matchstick pieces (or thin, round slices which will save some time); cucumber, thinly sliced on the bias (diagonally); tomatoes, washed and halved (or quartered if especially large); red onion, as thinly sliced as you can get it (a very sharp knife helps); rinsed and dried cilantro (cilantro has thin, edible stems, so don’t worry about pulling off individual leaves); nuts, in a small dish to keep them dry (these can be left whole); and the eggplant.
- Pour additional dressing over the vegetables (except the eggplant).
- Serve the platter family style. I plated the rice individually before serving, but you could also bring it to the table in the pot or a serving bowl. Serve with additional soy or tamari and slices of the remaining limes.
- Category: Lunch, Dinner
- Cuisine: Thai, Gluten-Free, Vegan