Saturday, January 28, 2012

Vegetable Stir-fry with Roasted Cashew Nuts

As a kid, I have never liked eggplant (or aubergine in French and UK, brinjal in India and Africa). The purple color vegetable that has a somewhat soft mushy texture when cooked. But ever since I stopped eating meat, dairy and sugar, I developed appreciation and a taste for a lot of vegetables that I didn't use to like. Eggplant is one of them.

This recipe is a very classic way of preparing eggplant in chinese cuisine - stirfry. This dish is only mildly spicy from the chili pepper flakes. And for a more interesting texture to the overall dish, I added roasted cashew nuts. Every bit of this dish gives you a slightly different degree of crunch and sweetness from the vegetables - from crunchy broccoli and cauliflower to soft eggplant and garlic. Try it with warm brown rice or over your favorite dry noodles. It's awesome!

Ingredients (serves 3 to 4):
1. 1 medium eggplant (about 1 lb), cut into bite size pieces
2. 1 small carrot, cut into bite size pieces
3. 1 cup broccoli, cut into bite size pieces
4. 1 cup cauliflower, but into bite size pieces
5. 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
6. 1/2 cup cashew nuts, dry roasted
7. 3 tablespoons tomato paste
8. 2 tablespoon sake (optional)
9. 1 teaspoon chili pepper flakes
10. Salt and pepper to taste
11. Grapeseed oil

1. Be sure to cut all vegetables into similar size for even cooking time at the end.
2. Dry roast cashew nuts in 375F oven for about 7 to 8 minutes until fragrant and slightly brown.
3. Heat up a few spritz of grapeseed oil in a saute pan. Saute eggplant for about 6 minutes until slightly soften and slightly brown. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Add garlic and saute for another 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
4. If needed add a few more spritz of grapeseed oil into the saute pan. Saute broccoli with salt and pepper for about 3 to 4 minutes until tender but not soft. Remove from pan and set aside.
5. If needed, add a few more spritz of grapeseed oil into the saute pan. Saute cauliflower and carrots with salt and pepper for about 4 to 5 minutes. Deglaze pan with a few splashes of sake if using. Continue to cook for another 2 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
6. Put all vegetables back into the pan and cook over medium heat. Mix tomatoe paste with 1/2 cup of water and add to pan. Mix well. Season with chili pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste.
7. Turn off heat. Add cashew nuts and mix well. Serve hot with rice.

Nutritional value of this recipe:
One serving of this recipe will only set you back by 210 calories. But you also get almost 5g of fiber from it, all the Vitamin A you need for the day, 60%* of your daily Vitamin C needs, 11%* of your daily iron requirements and 5%* of your daily calcium needs.

* based on a 2,000 calories per day diet

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