The extreme heat is gone now, but it left some of my garden in tatters. For the first time ever, my green and wax beans are not giving me a good harvest. The few beans that I've managed to pick are stunted little things. Fortunately, I'm getting lots of tomatoes, peppers and eggplant.
The eggplants seem to have weathered the extreme heat the best, with no blossom drop. I'm growing the standard black globes, as well as white and Chinese varieties. However, my favorite is the small purple variegated type. Not only are they pretty, but I think they taste better, with a sweet, creamy texture. They're also very prolific, covering the plants with fruit, so I'm able to harvest many of the little devils when they're only a little bigger than my finger. For some lovely pictures of this type of eggplant, go over to In Mol Araan.
I used the little purple variety to make a quick stir fry this Sunday. The dish was quite nice, but it has a rather evil appearance due to the black bean sauce used in it. The black beans used here are actually fermented soybeans, and they add a smokey flavor that transforms a simple dish into something very distinctive. This couldn't be easier--it's just stir fried vegetables and chicken, with the black bean sauce, ginger root and sesame oil. I did hear the magic words from Bob as he was eating it: "This is really good!."
Chicken and Eggplant in Black Bean Sauce
2 boneless chicken thighs, cut into cubes or sliced
1 large eggplant, Asian variety, or 4 or 5 baby eggplants cut into cubes
1/2 medium yellow onion, cubed
1/2 bell pepper, cubed
2 heaping Tablespoons black bean sauce with garlic (in the Asian section of the grocery store)
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons honey
1 to 2 Tablespoons grated ginger root, to your taste
1 Tablespoon chicken stock
4 Tablespoons oil
2 heaping Tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 Tablespoon sesame seed oil
Combine the black bean sauce, lime juice, chicken stock and honey in a small bowl and set aside.
Heat the oil over medium high heat and stir fry the chicken until cooked, about 2-3 minutes. Place chicken in bowl and set aside. Heat the remaining oil over medium heat and stir-fry eggplant, pepper, and onions for about 3-5 minutes until the eggplant is tender, but not mushy. Add the black bean mixture and cook another minute. Add sesame oil and cilantro, toss to combine. Adjust seasoning. Serve on rice or chinese noodles.