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Spicy Eggplant Cups + Habanero Lemongrass sauce

Spicy Eggplant Cups + Habanero Lemongrass sauce
Makes 6-8 lettuce cups

 

Ingredients

For the habanero lemongrass sauce

3 stalks lemongrass (bottom 3 inches only), outer leaves removed and chopped into small pieces (save the upper portions for tea)

½ -1 habanero pepper, seeds removed

½ can (200ml) full fat coconut milk

2 cloves garlic, whole

¼ cup brown cane sugar (I used Cocoa Camino Fair Trade)

2 tbsp rice wine vinegar

2 tbsp tamari

1 tbsp toasted sesame oil

1 tsp ginger, dried

½ tsp sea salt

 

For the filling

2 tbsp coconut oil

1 large eggplant cut into 2 inch cubes (skin can be left on)

1 tbsp cornstarch + 1 tbsp water

454g firm tofu or other protein, cut into 2 inch cubes

2 tbsp vegetable oil

Sea salt and pepper

Cucumber cut into matchsticks

Carrot cut into matchsticks

 

Head of lettuce with leaves (about the size of your hand) removed and washed.

 

Optional garnish: Crushed peanuts, chopped cilantro or chives

 

Preparation

For the habanero lemongrass sauce

Place all ingredients except the starch, into a highspeed blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.

 

For the filling

Prepare your protein. If using tofu, cut into pieces, toss with 2 tbsp vegetable oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and bake tofu at 375 degrees F for 30 minutes. If using a meat protein cook to the appropriate time.

 

In a large cast iron skillet preheat 2 tbsp coconut oil on a medium heat. Chop the eggplant into 2 inch cubes and once oil is hot, add to skillet. Toss to absorb oil and then allow to cook for about 5 minutes, tossing a few times. The eggplant cubes should start to brown.

 

Once eggplant has cooked for about 5 minutes add the habanero lemongrass sauce over top the eggplant and stir in cornstarch/water mixture. Add the tofu (or meat protein). Stir to combine and cook for another 10 minutes or until eggplant has a chewy (not too soft) texture. The sauce should cook down and thicken.

 

To serve

Place washed lettuce ‘cups’ on a plate and top with eggplant/tofu mixture. Top with carrot and cucumber matchsticks and garnish with crushed peanuts and herbs.

 

Enjoy!