My husband will finally be coming home next week and I will be over glad. I imagine my Asian food obsession will be somewhat curtailed to occasionally in order to make room for the stews, meatloaves, mashed potatoes with gravy and the roasts that he loves. Winter food.
In the meantime, I made a dish of my own winter food, Asian style; Thai eggplants with lamb and udon noodles. These golf ball size eggplants are so cute and good! If they still have some left when I go back to the supermarket, I think I’ll try roasting them whole.
I wonder where the line is drawn between American lamb and American mutton, at what age? As soon as this ground meat hit the skillet, I smelled mutton and believe me I’m practically an expert on mutton, having attended hundreds of mechouis (whole mutton roasts) in West Africa. In addition, the fat that accumulated in the pan was also an indication of oldish sheep. If you find yourself with mislabeled lamb, pour off this fat before continuing with the recipe. Or if you don’t want to risk it, use ground pork, veal, chicken or turkey instead.
I used dried udon noodles for this recipe because I didn’t have any more fresh udon. One of the differences between fresh and dried is that the dried udon cooks up as a flat noodle, while the fresh is more rounded, creating a more slurpable surface. Since eating freshly made noodles at an outdoor worker’s stand in The People’s Republic of China, I’ve been difficult to please 🙂
Spicy Thai Eggplant with Lamb
2 -3 tbsp sambal oelek
2 tbsp Tamari soy sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp sake
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp peanut oil
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 inch fresh ginger, minced
6 multicolored mini bell peppers, cut into squares
1 lb ground lamb
2 tbsp peanut oil
8 Thai eggplants, quartered
Mix together the sambal oelek, soy sauce, vinegar and sugar. Blend well and set aside.
Heat 1 tbsp of peanut oil in a wok, add the garlic, ginger and peppers, then stir fry for 2-3 minutes until the peppers are crisp tender. Add the lamb and saute until the meat is no longer pink. Drain off all the fat, remove the meat and vegetables from the wok and set aside. Wipe out the wok with a paper towel.
Add 2 tbsp of peanut oil to the wok, add the eggplant and saute until the eggplant is lightly browned. Stir in the meat mixture and the sauce, bring to a boil, cover, then simmer for 6-8 minutes. Serve with rice or noodles.