Eggplant and I have always had a bit of a tortured relationship.
I want to like eggplant. I mean, she has fabulous colors and a supersexy shape, but most of the time, eggplant leaves me feeling completely unsatisfied.
After an entire summer of making a delicious thai curry that featured eggplant but was making my husband a little crazy because I’d make it every single week to deal with the massive amount of eggplant we’d get in our CSA, I finally found an eggplant recipe that I love and can make a single serving of more easily.
Enter Thug Kitchen, one of my favorite cookbooks and vegan food blogs. In their Thug kitchen cookbook, I discovered a recipe for Grilled Eggplant Soba Noodles.
I was intrigued because the marinade looked delicious and the recipe looked dead simple and I had 3 eggplants getting old in my fridge and I couldn’t bear the idea of telling my husband I was making the delicious, but all-too familiar curry again.
We don’t have a grill and I wanted the recipe to have a little more going on than just the eggplant, just in case, so I modified quite a bit. The result was surprisingly delicious. Both kids ate from my bowl, which made me a little grumpy because I wanted it all to myself. Thankfully, I still have eggplant left because I did have 3, so I’ll be making more this weekend.
This is a single serving recipe because you probably won’t want to share it, but if you’re feeling generous, double it up.
Pan-fried Eggplant, Kale, and Soba Noodles
Eggplant and Marinade~
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/8 cup tamari or soy sauce
1/8 cup water
1/2 Tbs maple syrup
1 Tbs toasted sesame oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small eggplant, peeled and sliced into thin strips
1 bunch kale, torn into bite size pieces (will be about 2 or 4 cups, depending on if you measure by jamming it all in the cup or let it be fluffy and free)
1 Tbs sesame oil
a dash of salt, as needed
2-3 oz soba noodles (although udon would work just fine here, too)
fresh basil, sliced into thin strips
Prepare your marinade by mixing all of the ingredients together and pour into a wide container that is at least 2 inches deep. I used a square glass storage container.
Place your eggplant strips in the container, slosh it around a bit to thoroughly coat the eggplants and let it sit for at least 15 minutes, but an hour is better.
Cook your noodles according to package instructions. When they’re done, run some cold water over them and set them aside to cool.
Coat your cast iron pan with a small amount of oil to prep it. Then lay in the marinated eggplant strips. They shouldn’t overlap. Cook for about 3 minutes and then flip them to the other side for another 2 minutes or so. They should be browned on the first side at least. If they get dry while cooking, you can always brush some of the marinade onto them — mine did not but if you need to, go for it.
Not all of the eggplant strips will fit in the pan at one time, so you’re going to have to rotate them through.
Once all of the eggplant is cooked, add it to a bowl with the soba noodles and the basil strips.
In the same cast iron pan, cook your kale. Add a tiny bit more oil and the kale, with a little salt if need be. Cook until the kale is bright green and wilted.
Add the kale to the noodles. Pour on some of the remaining marinade for more flavor and if you’re feeling decadent.
EAT IT UP!