Thai Basil Eggplant: Vegan and Gluten Free

Thai Eggplant Stir Fry

Thai Eggplant stir-fry with Basil and Chili garlic sauce (Pad Prik Pao Ma Keua Praw) is soft, spicy and a little sweet recipe.  Thai basil adds a very fresh flavor to this vegan, gluten free and delicious stir fry eggplant recipe. A simple sauce, eggplant, onions, peppers, and Thai basil come together quickly to make a delicious vegan side dish or main meal dish when served over rice, noodlesor quinoa.

The literal translation of ‘Pad Prik Pao Ma Keua Praw’ is  eggplant stir fried in spicy chili garlic sauce. ‘Pad’ = stir fry, ‘Prik Poa’ = is spicy chili garlic thai sauce and ‘Ma keua Praw’ = eggplant in Thai.

Eggplant for Americans, aubergine to many Europeans, brinjal/baingan to Indians and Ma Keua Praw to Thais. No matter what you call it, is a very popular vegetable in Southeast Asian Countries. Eggplant is consumed and incorporated in diet very regularly and stands similar to potatoes to western countries.  There are many ways eggplant can be consumed and cooked.  Eggplants can be fried, grilled, baked, stewed, pickled, stuffed and much more.

Different Variety of Eggplants

Eggplants comes in varied shapes and colors. Eggplants are not always purple, you can find them green, white, striped in purple and white as well. Though, over here standard globe eggplant you find at the grocery store is more common but at any Asian grocery store you should be able to see long Japanese or Chinese eggplant, small baby Indian eggplants, round green Thai eggplants and many more different varieties of eggplants.

Nutritionally Dense Eggplants   

Eggplants are very nutrient dense food, they contain a good amount of vitamins, minerals and fiber in few calories. Eggplants are rich potassium, antioxidants, manganese, and fiber. It may improve heart function and reduce LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels, Eggplants are high in anthocyanins, a pigment with antioxidant properties that can protect against cellular damage. It can also reduce the risk of high blood pressure, streamline the digestive system. With calories as low as 25 per serving, eggplant is ideal for those watching their diet.

sliced eggplant

Right Variety for Thai Eggplant

For this recipe, it is best to use the long Japanese or Chinese eggplants. These varieties of eggplant are available at any Asian store or at the farmer’s market. This eggplant variety is sweeter and milder than others. Hence, need not to be peeled or salted. You can just slice them up and add it to your dish.  Since, long eggplants has thin skin and almost seedless, with minimal cooking they cook into soft and creamiest texture.

For some reason, if you are not able to get the long eggplants, then sub big globe shape eggplants which are easily available in all grocery stores. Just stick with a pound of whatever variety you go with and you should be fine.

How to Make Thai Basil Eggplant Stir Fry Heartier?

  • I have added some tofu for an extra boost of protein, which you can totally skip if you don’t want.  
seasoned tofu
  • Addition of Bell peppers add a crunch and color to this dish. Red bell peppers are the richest dietary source of vitamin C
after added mix bell peppers
  • Onions are inseparable in this recipe you can swipe with shallots or sweet onions.
onion and aromatics being sauted
  • Ginger is loaded with antioxidant, adds more warmth and depth to this dish. There is no other flavor like ginger, so do not skimp on it.
Julienned ginger
  • Thai basil an aromatic herb makes this dish taste and smell extra special and rich, so do not skimp on it.

How to Cook Eggplant with Less Oil?

Eggplants are like little sponges that seem to absorb as much oil as you add. That said, restaurant-style eggplant dishes are mostly deep fried, while delicious, are often loaded with oil.  For this reason, I refrain from deep frying, and instead air fried the eggplants. Air frying is a very quick method to cook eggplants and do not take long. Just slice them up into thick slices, season the sliced eggplant and air fried for 8 minutes at 350-Degree F in a single layer.

seasoned eggplant on air-fryer basket

How to Make Sauce for Thai Basil Eggplant Stir Fry?

Sauce is what brings flavor to this dish and is very easy to make.  I have added Tahini to give little thickness to this sauce so that it coats well the vegetables. Also sesame seeds flavors goes well in Thai recipe as it also contains sesame seeds and sesame seed oil.

Sauce Mix being added to stir-fry

This quick sauce is whipped out of tahini, tamari, maple syrup, rice vinegar, sriracha, chili garlic paste, sesame oil, Chinese five spice blend and sesame seeds. I have used tamari but feel free to use low sodium soy sauce if being gluten free is not one of your concern. Add your favorite sweetener to give a little sweetness to this dish instead of maple syrup. Rice vinegar is what gives tartness to this dish, adjust the quantity to make it less or tarter as per your taste buds.  Sriracha and chili garlic paste controls the spice level, add a little more of sriracha to make it spicier. Overall, this recipe is mildly spiced on spice level.

Ingredients required for Thai Eggplant Recipe

Thai Eggplant Stir-Fry Ingredients

Oil and Spices

  • Avocado Oil (Any preferred vegetable oil): 3 tablespoons, divided
  • Black pepper: 1 tsp, divided
  • Salt: ½ tsp, divided (adjust as per your taste)

Pantry

Water & Corn Starch - Thai Eggplant Stir-Fry Ingredients

Produce

  • Long eggplants (Japanese or Chinese): 1 lb./ 2 long, diced ½ inch diagonally
  • Tofu (Super firm): 8 oz/ ½ of a block
  • Red onion: 1 medium/250 grams diced into large cubes
  • Green bell pepper: ¼ of pepper/ ½ cup, diced into large cubes
  • Red bell pepper: ¼ of pepper/ ½ cup, diced into large cubes
  • Yellow bell pepper: ¼ of pepper/ ½ cup, diced into large cubes
  • Ginger: 2-inch knob/ 20 grams, thinly julienned
  • Garlic: 2-3 cloves/1 tablespoon, minced
  • Thai Green Chili (or Serrano): 2-3 in number/3 grams, thinly julienned
  • Thai Basil: 1 cup leaves/ 20 gram

For the sauce:

Sauces and spices for Thai Eggplant Stir-Fry Ingredients

Instructions to prepare Thai Eggplant Recipe:

Prep work Instructions:

  1. Prepare sauce: Mix all the ingredients listed under sauce in a small bowl, whisk them all together and keep it aside. Add more sriracha sauce if you prefer spicier.
  1. Prepare Eggplant: To prepare eggplants cut off the top and bottom tips and sliced them diagonally into ½ inch thick slices. Season the sliced eggplant with salt, pepper, oil and air fry them at 350-degree F for 8 minutes. Once done keep them aside.
  1. Prepare tofu: To prepare tofu, wrap between kitchen paper towel and squeeze as much possible water out. Then chop into bite size, season with oil, salt, pepper and air fry at 350-degree for 8 minutes.

To Prepare the Recipe:

  1. Heat oil in a pan on a medium pan. Once oil is hot, add julienned ginger, green chilis, minced garlic and sauté for a minute or until garlic turned little brown.
  1. Now, add cubed onions and stir fry for 1 to 2 minutes on high heat, they should remain crunchy.
  1. Then add cubed bell pepper and stir fry along with onions for another minute, try not to overcook them to maintain the crunch.
  1. Now, add air fried eggplant and tofu to stir fried vegetables and give a quick mix.
  1. Next, stir in the prepared sauce mixture and stir to coat the eggplant and veggies, lower the heat to avoid overcooking.
  1. In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch into ¼ cup water, making sure the cornstarch is fully dissolved, then add it to the pan and stir gently until the sauce is thickened, about 30 – 40 seconds.
corn starch slurry
  1. Turn of the heat and let the eggplant and veggies cool down for a minute, then toss in the basil and fold it carefully into the eggplant. You just want basil to wilt a little.

Serve immediately with some hot fried rice as a one-dish meal, or on a small plate as a vegetable side dish to be eaten with other foods.

Eggplant Stir-Fry

Equipment used in making this recipe:

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Thai Eggplant Stir Fry
Thai Basil Eggplant: Vegan and Gluten Free
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 

Thai-style, Eggplant stir-fried with Basil and Chili garlic sauce (Pad Prik Pao Ma Keua Praw) is soft, spicy and a little sweet recipe.  Thai basil adds a very fresh flavor to this vegan, gluten free and delicious stir fry eggplant recipe. A simple sauce, eggplant, onions, peppers, and Thai basil come together quickly to make a delicious vegan side dish or main meal dish when served over rice, noodlesor quinoa.

Course: Entree, Everyday Recipe, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Asian, Global, Thai
Diet: GlutenFreeDiet, LowCalorieDiet, VeganDiet, VegetarianDiet
Keyword: Eggplant Stir Fry, Pad Prik Pao Ma Keua Praw, Thai Basil Eggplant, Thai Eggplant
Servings: 4
Calories: 284 kcal
Author: Rupali Agarwal
Ingredients
Oil and Spices
  • 3 tbsp Avocado Oil or any Preferred vegetable oil: divided
  • 1 tsp Black pepper divided
  • 1/2 tsp Salt divided (adjust as per your taste)
Pantry
Produce
  • 1 lb Long eggplants Japanese or Chinese: 2 long, diced ½ inch diagonally
  • 8 oz Tofu Super firm: ½ of a block
  • 250 g Red onion 1 medium diced into large cubes
  • 1/2 cup Green bell pepper ¼ of pepper diced into large cubes
  • 1/2 cup Red bell pepper ¼ of pepper diced into large cubes
  • 1/2 cup Yellow bell pepper ¼ of pepper diced into large cubes
  • 20 g Ginger 2-inch knob thinly julienned
  • 1 tbsp Garlic 2-3 cloves minced
  • 3 g Thai Green Chili or Serrano: 2-3 in number thinly julienned
  • 20 g Thai Basil 1 cup leaves
For the sauce:
Instructions
Prep work Instructions:
  1. Prepare sauce: Mix all the ingredients listed under sauce in a small bowl, whisk them all together and keep it aside. Add more sriracha sauce if you prefer spicier.

    Sauces and spices in a bowl
  2. Prepare Eggplant: To prepare eggplants cut off the top and bottom tips and sliced them diagonally into ½ inch thick slices. Season the sliced eggplant with salt, pepper, oil and air fry them at 350-degree F for 8 minutes. Once done keep them aside.

    seasoned eggplant on air-fryer basket
  3. Prepare tofu: To prepare tofu, wrap between kitchen paper towel and squeeze as much possible water out. Then chop into bite size, season with oil, salt, pepper and air fry at 350-degree for 8 minutes.

    seasoned tofu on air-fryer basket
To Prepare the Recipe:
  1. Heat oil in a pan on a medium pan, once oil is hot, add julienned ginger, green chilis, minced garlic and sauté for a minute or until garlic turned little brown.
    ginger, garlic and green chillies being sauted in a pan
  2. Now, add cubed onions and stir fry for 1 to 2 minutes on high heat, they should remain crunchy.
    onion and aromatics being sauted
  3. Then add cubed bell pepper and stir fry along with onions for another minute, try not to overcook them to maintain the crunch.
    after added mix bell peppers
  4. Now, add air fried eggplant and tofu to stir fried vegetables and give a quick mix.
    Eggpan and Tofu added to the stir-fry
  5. Next, stir in the prepared sauce mixture and stir to coat the eggplant and veggies, lower the heat to avoid overcooking.
    Sauce Mix being added to stir-fry
  6. In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch into ¼ cup water, making sure the cornstarch is fully dissolved, then add it to the pan and stir gently until the sauce is thickened, about 30 – 40 seconds.
    corn starch slurry
  7. Turn of the heat and let the eggplant and veggies cool down for a minute, then toss in the basil and fold it carefully into the eggplant. You just want basil to wilt a little.
    chopped thai basil being added
  8. Serve immediately with some hot fried rice as a one-dish meal, or on a small plate as a vegetable side dish to be eaten with other foods.
    mixing and saute to make Thai Eggplant Stir-Fry

Recipe Video

Nutrition Facts
Thai Basil Eggplant: Vegan and Gluten Free
Amount Per Serving
Calories 284 Calories from Fat 153
% Daily Value*
Fat 17g26%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Sodium 450mg20%
Potassium 545mg16%
Carbohydrates 26g9%
Fiber 6g25%
Sugar 12g13%
Protein 10g20%
Vitamin A 979IU20%
Vitamin C 84mg102%
Calcium 127mg13%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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