Love and Chili-Lime Cashew Eggplant Stir-fry

Thai Garden

Thai Garden – 2735 Harrison Ave NW # 44A, Olympia, WA 98502-4588  360-943-6292

I love Thai food! Luckily, there is an average of 1 Thai restaurant per city block in Oly. Apparently every body loves Thai food. One of my favorites actually doesn’t reside in down town Oly, it is in a box-store type building by the Mall on the west side. In fact, it used to be in the mall. Thai Garden. Thai restaurant food is never really top notch, but this is pretty damn good. It’s comfort food. I would recommend the Green Curry.

Thai Pavilion – 303 4th Avenue East, Olympia, WA 98501-1106  360-943-9093

My other favorite is Thai Pavilion on 4th Ave. It is a family run restaurant. Their food is a little more authentic and they have these marvelous puff pastries somewhat akin to samosas. Both restaurants are reasonably priced, with nice atmosphere and good service.

Now, if you have been reading my blog you will know that I have a few emotional issues surrounding the recipe I’ve included here…..let me tell you the whole story. I told this guy I was dating (let’s call him JJ) that I wanted to cook dinner while visiting his house. I promised I would live by the Indian mantra, “no tofu, no broccoli”. He agreed, hesitantly and with some fear.  That should have been a red flag, right? And there were additional difficulties – bachelor apartment. I’m sure you know the kind, plenty of us had it in college. Half empty cabinets, minimal dried and ground up spices,  only enough food in the refrigerator to fill half a shelf at best. One, crummy frying pan – non-stick.

So, I did the logical thing. I went to Trader Joe’s and got what I needed. Unfortunately this ended up being an entire bag full of groceries, including staples that I would have normally had at home. He seemed concerned. I was invading his single-IT-Indian-boy life. Perhaps my actions suggested that his kitchen needed to do some growing up, and by association, maybe he did too. I ignored his angst and cooked. I made due with his frying pan and electric stove. He seemed pleasantly surprised with the outcome.

However, there was still the looming specter of the bag of groceries. I left the rest of the cashews, the sesame oil, the basil, the Soyaki, the garlic, the ginger and various other staples because my kitchen is functional and prepared. I didn’t need them. But he seemed uncomfortable. I was stocking his kitchen and treading on dangerous ground, that of implied permanence in our relationship. My intention was to share my skills and, maybe, in the process help him prepare to fend for himself in his life after his roommates impending marriage. My attempt failed miserably, even if the dish was a success. You all know the ending to this story.

In spite of his angst, he really is a great guy. Bottom line, make sure your relationship is on solid footing before attempting this dish. If anyone can suggest a make-up recipe that would be great.

Chili-Lime Cashew and Eggplant Stir-Fry    


One large or two small Eggplants

1 Zucchini

One onion

One red, orange or yellow pepper

Three to four stems of Basil

Chili-Lime Cashews from Trader Joes

Soyaki also from Trader Joes



Salt, pepper and sugar

Vegetable oil and Sesame oil

Cut your Eggplant, zucchini, onions and bell pepper into smallish chunks. Bit size is a good guideline. In a large wok, add about two tablespoons of vegetable oil and one table spoon of sesame oil. Add the eggplant to your wok and cook down until it becomes soft but not mushy. Remember it will still be cooked more as you add more ingredients. Next add your zucchini, onions and bell peppers. Douse with about 1/4 cup of Soyaki and let it cook until the zucchini and peppers are getting soft. Add chopped ginger (3-5 slices depending on how much you like ginger) and two to three cloves of chopped garlic. A little salt and pepper won’t hurt if you are so inclined. Last, add about 3/4 of a cup of cashews and the whole leaves without stems of the basil. The more the better as it will wilt down quite quickly. Give it all a quick mix, remove it from the heat and eat.

I like this with Quinoa. To make tasty Quinoa boil it like rice with one cup of Quinoa to two cups of water. Add 1/2 a vegetable bullion and one chopped jalapeno. Bring it to a boil then turn it down to simmer until all of the water is absorbed. Quinoa cooks much faster than rice, about 10-12 min total, so keep your eye on it.


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