When it comes to stir-frying, there’s no reason to restrict the range of ingredients. This particular grouping offers a great mix of texture and flavor contrast – plus, the dish looks and tastes like fall.
Serve with couscous and a dollop of harissa (a red pepper paste), or over some fresh sprouts. Adapted from Lydia Lunch: The Need to Feed, a Hedonist’s Guide, created with Marcy Blaustein (Universe, 2012).
Stir-Fry of Eggplant, Sweet Potato and Cashew Nuts With Tofu
2 medium (14 ounces total) sweet potatoes
2 medium cloves garlic
1-inch piece ginger root
1 small green or red chili pepper
2 small (about 15 ounces total) eggplants
1 cup firm cubed tofu
1/2 cup lightly packed basil leaves
3 tablespoons peanut oil
1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup roasted unsalted cashews
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
As you prep the following ingredients, keep them separate: Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into small dice to yield about 3 cups. Mince the garlic. Peel the ginger and mince or grate it finely. Stem and seed the chili pepper, then mince. Cut the eggplants into medium dice to yield about 2 1/2 cups. Drain the tofu and blot it dry with paper towels. Stack and roll the basil leaves, then cut them crosswise into very thin strips.
Heat a well-seasoned wok or large skillet over high heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat; once you see a wisp of smoke, add the sweet potato and stir-fry for about 8 minutes, until tender and lightly caramelized. Add the garlic, ginger and chili pepper; stir-fry for about 20 seconds until fragrant, then add the soy sauce and eggplant. Stir-fry for about 2 minutes, until the eggplant begins to get tender.
Add the tofu and cashews; stir-fry for 1 or 2 minutes, then remove from the heat.
Stir in the toasted sesame oil and the basil. Divide among individual plates. Serve hot. Makes 3 to 4 servings (Makes about 7 cups).