Have you tried Meatless Mondays in May? How is it going? If you have been trying this challenge and have any thoughts to share, I’d love to hear from you.
Today I have a new recipe and new approach to share for eating meatless: using international cuisines that rely less-heavily on meat. There are many more cultures in the world that trend to eating vegetarian than there are carnivores, many of which are in the Asian Continent.
Martin Yan is one of my favorite celebrity chefs. I remember watching “Yan Can Cook!” as a young child, his infectious enthusiasm encouraging viewers to try Chinese cooking. Earlier this year I was thrilled when he came to a local grocery store to do a free demonstration. I felt like a child again, watching the master cook, but this time in person.
This Meatless Monday recipe is based on Martin Yan’s recipe for “Eggplant in Plum Sauce.” I’ve added noodles to make it more of a main course dish. Adding tofu or peanuts further stretches this dish and makes it even more hearty.
Noodles with Plum Sauce Eggplant
1 pound udon or rice noodles
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 pound Asian eggplant, cut into 1 inch pieces
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons plum sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
fresh cilantro (optional)
Cook the udon or rice noodles according to package instructions. Once done, set aside.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a wok or large skillet over medium high heat. Add the eggplant and stir-fry for 4-5 minutes or until slightly tender. Add the garlic and cook one more minute.
Mix the plum sauce, rice wine, sesame oil and soy sauce in a separate bowl, pour over the eggplant and bring to a simmer. Let simmer 1 minute and remove from heat.
To serve, place ⅙ of the noodles in a shallow bowl. Top with eggplant and peanuts, and/or cilantro if using. If you enjoy heat, sprinkle on some red pepper flakes.
Try serving this dish as a Chinese Stir-fry, not mentioning “eggplant,” if your children are picky. Often, they will try something that sounds exciting and exotic if you don’t go into details. Afterward you can tell them they love eggplant!