Eggs with Eggplant and Basil is Asian in spirit but doesn’t actually belong to any specific cuisine. It calls for the long, slender types of eggplant common to Japanese, or south-east Asian kitchens rather than the fatter, deep purple eggplants more familiar in the west. It could easily be served as a side dish as part of a more complex meal, or eaten alone as a snack or even a simple breakfast…
A Quick Overview
Long, slender Asian eggplants work best for this recipe. You could get away with using the fatter variety more common in Italian and North American cookery, but the idea is to end up with small, thin pieces, each with a bit of the purple skin still visible.
Tossing the pieces with lemon and salt adds flavor, but the salt can draw out some of the bitterness of certain eggplants, while the lemon juice also presents the cut surfaces from oxidizing.
Most of the seasonings are added in with the beaten egg. The corn-starch slurry portion works to produce fluffier ‘curds’ of egg during the final stir-fry.
Fish Sauce makes a terrific addition to scrambled eggs or omelets as it gives the finished dish even more of the umami boost one would get using Dried Scallop, Dried Shrimp, or Chinese Black Mushrooms.
When frying the eggplant slices, a hot temperature is needed so that you get a nice golden-brown coloring on the outside, while leaving interior moist and tender.
The eggs and basil are added last and the idea is to work slowly and not rush things at this point. As the bottom begins to start setting, you use gentle folding and turning motions to let the still liquid mix flow down beneath the soft egg ‘curds’ that begin to form.
The process is done when there are nice thick ‘clouds’ of egg but places where the mixture is still wet, and not quite set.
Your Recipe Card:
Eggs with Eggplant and Basil
- 1 small Asian Eggplant;
- 1 pinch Salt;
- 1 Tbsp. Lemon juice.
- 3 Eggs;
- 1 cup Basil leaves coarsely chopped;
- 1 tbsp. Cornstarch mixed to a slurry with a little water;
- 1 tbsp. Fish Sauce;
- 1 tsp. Sugar.
- 1 tbsp. Rice Wine;
- 1 pinch White Pepper;
- 1 ½ tbsp. Vegetable Oil.
- Slice the eggplant in half lengthwise and then across into half-moons about a half an inch (1 cm) thick. Toss the pieces with lemon juice and salt.
- Beat the eggs in a bowl together with the cornstarch slurry then stir in the sugar, fish sauce and white pepper. Set aside for the moment.
- Heat the oil in a pan over moderately high heat then quickly sauté the eggplant pieces until they begin to turn golden.
- Pour in the egg mix and scatter the basil over top of everything.
- Allow the eggs to just begin to set at the bottom of the pan for a few seconds and then begin to turn the mix very slowly, one area at a time, breaking the thickening egg mixture into fluffy ‘curds’
- When the eggs are almost completely set, plate and serve immediately.