I make no secret of the fact that, combined with bright colours and office supplies, I'm a big admirer of aubergine (that's eggplant to some of you). All the best vegetables start with the letter "A" (don't get pedantic about this, kids- I know aubergine is technically a fruit), from artichoke and asparagus to aubergine and avocado. If it weren't for the b-veggies and k-greens I might just be able to survive on the a-list alone.
I accept donations of free pens. Just putting that out there.
Should you choose to anthropomorphise this dish then sure, it would totally be a bit uppity and hot on itself. That's no surprise, what with the Thai influences and the underdog eggplant star; there's a whole heap (pun intended) of undetected cool in this jumble of ingredients.
The TVP packs a strong salt punch, a good pair with the mild smokey eggplant beneath. The lettuce is a texture thing, and the mint combined with the soya protein reminds me slightly of larb. Squeeze a wedge of lime over the whole shebang for a tasty meal that's easier than it looks.
Tom Yummy Asian Aubergine Stack
- Preheat your oven to at least 200 degrees celcius (400 F). Cut the aubergines lengthways into ¼ inch slices, then spray or brush them with oil on both sides. Arrange on two baking trays (use parchment if you'd like to save some tidying time). Bake for 15-20 minutes, keeping an eye out for burning, flipping the eggplant halfway through. They should be lightly browned but not blackened.
- Combine the 1 tbsp oil, water, soy sauce, sherry, 2 tsp lime juice, tom yum paste, sri racha, and agave/sugar in a small bowl. Tip the TVP (textured vegetable protein) into a wok or large frying pan and pour the liquid over top. Mix to ensure all of the TVP is covered. Leave for 5-10 minutes to soak up the liquid.
- Turn the heat to medium and add the onion, garlic, and coriander. Stir fry for 8-10 minutes and season with salt and pepper to taste. Turn the heat off and stir in the coconut milk.
- To serve divide the aubergine into two portions, stacking them on each plate in a lattice-ish formation (or just chuck 'em in a pile). Combine the 1 tsp lime juice with 1 tsp agave nectar and splash over the eggplant. A pinch or two of flaked salt won't hurt either. Sprinkle the lettuce around the dish and top the aubergine stacks with the TVP. Scatter mint around and over the whole dish, finally topping the plate with some spring onion and a wedge of lime.