One of my go-to weeknight meals is always a vegetable stir fry like this Eggplant, Bok Choy and Tomatoes in Coconut Milk. 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.
Eggplants, Bok Choy and Tomatoes with Coconut Milk
- large skillet or wok
- 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 large chopped onion
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
- 2 medium chopped tomatoes
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 Tablespoon shrimp paste or Filipino bagoong
- 1 can 13.5 ounces canned coconut milk
- 3 pieces sliced diagonally in 1/2 inch slices Japanese eggplant
- 3 cups chopped coarsely bok choy or Chinese cabbage
- a pinch salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper powder
- 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.