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Garlic, Thai Basil - Eggplant with Basil & Chili Paste Stir-Fry

SAUCE

2 Tbsp Thai chili paste

1 Tbsp soy sauce

2 tsp fish sauce

2 tsp oyster sauce

2 Tbsp water

THE REST

275g Chinese eggplant (about 1 large or 2 small), sliced on a bias about 0.5-inch thick, then halve each round

4 cloves garlic

Red Thai chilies, to taste (use at least 3, bigger ones if you can. Take the seeds out to reduce spiciness)

200g ground chicken (sub ground pork or crumbled firm tofu)

1 cup Thai basil leaves

Have a little water on the ready while you cook

Combine all sauce ingredients together and whisk until the chili paste is dissolved. Pound chilies and garlic in a mortar and pestle until there are no more big chunks (but not a fine paste). You can also chop them.In a large, flat skillet, add just enough oil to coat the bottom, and then heat until quite hot but not smoking. Add the eggplant in one layer (you may need to do this in batches) and let sear over medium high heat, undisturbed, until the bottom side is browned. Flip and cook the other side until it is browned as well. The pieces from the bottom of the eggplant will cook faster, so you will need to remove those first. Transfer into a bowl and set aside. In a wok, add a little bit of oil and the pounded garlic and chili mixture. Sauté for about 1 minute over medium heat just until the garlic starts to brown. Add ground chicken and cook until 80% done, adding a splash of water to loosen the chicken as needed. Add the eggplant and the sauce, then keep tossing for about 2-3 minutes until the eggplant is fully cooked but not mushy. Add the basil, turn off the heat, then toss for 30 more seconds using the residual heat to wilt the basil.Serve with rice. Enjoy!

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