One of my go-to weeknight meals is always a vegetable stir fry. I go through my vegetable bin and on the spot decide what we’re having for dinner. This was a no-brainer. I had a bunch of slim, long Japanese eggplants, a bundle of baby bok choy buds, tomatoes, shrimp paste and a whole can of coconut milk. I had other vegetables on hand too, but I wanted to see how these first three would turn out.
Inspired and renewed by a great weekend at the “Eat Write Retreat 2012” Conference, I came back home with a large bag of swag from generous sponsors. I brought home this large Calphalon skillet and I haven’t stopped cooking in it since I got back 3 weeks ago from Washington DC.
The process was easy and quick. I pre-simmered the coconut milk in a separate small pot. Then in the Calphalon skillet, sautéed the vegetables with shrimp paste. Slowly, I added the coconut milk towards the end of cooking when the veggies were soft.
It didn’t take long before the sweet coconut aroma of the broth simmering with the veggies filled the kitchen. It was sweet, yet slightly made salty with the hint of shrimp paste and some ginger flavors. I tossed it around a bit, then when it was hot and ready, served and poured it on a large plate of steamed white rice. It was such a simple dinner, yet so full of flavors and all the veggie goodness!
One of my go-to weeknight meals is always a vegetable stir fry. I go through my vegetable bin and on the spot decide what we’re having for dinner. This was a no-brainer. I had a bunch of slim, long Japanese eggplants, a bundle of baby bok choy buds, tomatoes, shrimp paste and a whole can of coconut milk. I had other vegetables on hand too, and tried different combinations on other busy nights.
- vegetable oil - 1 Tablespoon
- onion - 1 large, chopped
- garlic - 2 cloves, minced
- fresh ginger - 1/2 teaspoon, minced
- tomatoes - 2 medium, chopped
- vegetable broth - 1 cup
- shrimp paste or Filipino bagoong - 1 Tablespoon
- canned coconut milk - 1 can, 13.5 ounces
- Japanese eggplant - 3 pieces, sliced diagonally in 1/2 inch slices
- bok choy or Chinese cabbage - 3 cups, chopped coarsely
- salt - a pinch
- black pepper powder - 1/2 teaspoon
- Separately pre-simmer over low heat the coconut milk in a small saucepan. Simmer for about five minutes,then set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet, add the vegetable oil over medium high heat.
- Saute the onions, garlic, ginger. Mix well. Add the tomatoes. Stir well.
- Add the broth and shrimp paste. Blend well. Then add the coconut milk.
- Add the eggplant slices and cook till soft for about 12 minutes. When vegetables are soft, add the bok choy and cook for a minute or two till it softens.
- Serve hot with a bowl of steamed jasmine white rice.
COOK’S COMMENTS: The baby bok choy buds I referred to in this recipe were 2-inch tall little “bok choys” or Chinese cabbage. They were a smaller version of the larger ones and I bought them at the Asian grocery. Add or subtract the vegetables you prefer. Either way, this vegetable-coconut broth base is good and quick to cook, with any combination.