Most of the time Nicoletta and I we are creating main dishes and desserts, but today we thought we would change it up a bit and give you a wonderful side dish recipe created from my love of Asian food and spices, that is beautiful and wonderfully flavorful. Fresh ingredients and a combination of spices and sauces, keeping your taste buds attentive and alive.
I love going to the local Old Strathcona Farmer's Market. Saturday early morning, people eating at the in house restaurant, friends meeting and socializing over coffee or tea, catching up on their lives, merchants setting up, the look of all that fresh organic produce, all those preserves, the smell of fresh farm sausages cooking in the air, people loading their bags with all kinds of goodies, beautiful sights and scents of tulips from the Tulip farmer, announcements of draw winners and lost articles echoing in this old building. I am in heaven. The only dilemma, do I have enough bags, and what do I get, lol. Thanks to a weekly meal plan written down of course helps me navigate to my destinations. I have brought home spaghetti squash, some honey crisp apples and bartlett pears, fresh free range eggs, vine tomatoes, tulips for my wife even if she's miles away at the moment, and some peppers and red leaf lettuce, and baby red potatoes. Just enough things for the week and the best part, nothing will be wasted.
So, when the thought of doing a side dish came up, I immediately thought of the spaghetti squash, and on an excursion with my parents taking them grocery shopping, left me with some nice Asian eggplant. My mind working like a well oiled creative machine, I envisioned the spaghetti squash with a nice Thai flavoring, and the eggplant stir-fried in a nice Szechuan sauce, an inspiration from Padmanadi's vegetarian restaurant, which I have mentioned in other posts, as I love that place. So here you have it, our side dish for today: Coconut Curry Spaghetti Squash with Szehuan Style Eggplant.
The spaghetti squash beautifully roasted in wonderful spices of garlic, ginger, sesame oil and seeds, fresh basil, and a dusting of freshness from the grated lemongrass, slowly cooking upside down allowing all those flavors to steep into the flesh of this golden jewel. Then out of the oven and those wonderful strands of organic heaven lovingly extracted from the shell go into a wok, stir-frying, intensifying the flavor with the heat of the red curry paste, and smooth nutty sweetness from the coconut milk a great partnering with the flavor of the squash. Top this with some stir-fried eggplant sizzling in a sauce of garlic, ginger, hoisin, szechuan and plum sauce bliss, and a bit of vegetable broth to help moisten the eggplant.
This dish is amazing: the texture of the spaghetti squash holding the flavors of the red curry and coconut milk, back drops of the caramelized bits from the roaster, the eggplant soft, spicy, sweet, juicy with every bite, lingerings of ginger and garlic, bits of nutty from the sesame seeds, and that nice bite of fresh basil. I love this dish, Coconut Curry Spaghetti Squash with Szechuan Style Eggplant, great on its own but would be a lovely compliment to the array of dishes turning on the lazy susan turntable, served on an Asian cook night.
- 1 medium Spaghetti Squash
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon ginger minced
- 1 teaspoon Chinese five spice
- 1 table spoon sesame oil
- 1 table spoon fresh basil chopped
- 1 table spoon of grated lemon grass
- ½ teaspoon salt and pepper
- 1 teaspoon red curry paste
- 2 table spoon vegetable broth
- 1 ½ table spoons coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil for the wok
- 1 teaspoon peanut oil also for the wok
- 2 medium size Asian eggplant
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 table spoon ginger minced
- 1 table spoon sesame oil
- 1 table spoon peanut oil
- ½ teaspoon of salt and pepper
- ¼ teaspoon Chinese five spice
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 table spoon sesame seeds for garnish
- 1 tablespoon of freshly chopped basil for garnish
- 1 tablespoon store bought szechuan sauce
- 1 teaspoon peanut butter
- 1 teaspoon hoisin sauce
- 1 teaspoon plum sauce
- 2 tablespoons vegetable broth
- Cut squash in half and take out pulp and seeds.
- Splash each side with sesame oil.
- Sprinkle with garlic, ginger, Chinese five spice, grated lemon grass, basil, salt and pepper.
- On a parchment lined baking sheet place squash halves upside down.
- Place in a preheated 385° F oven and bake for 35 minutes.
- Times may vary so check the squash by piercing it with a small knife, if it goes through easily it is done.
- Take out of oven and cool.
- With a fork proceed to take out all the insides of the squash using a grating technique, it should come out in strands, giving you that spaghetti like look.
- In a wok heat up sesame and peanut oil.
- Toss in squash and mix frequently.
- Spoon in red curry paste and vegetable broth.
- Finally add coconut milk and mix again.
- Take of heat and Plate in a nice serving bowl.
- Wash and cut eggplant in half the in pieces about 4 cm in length.
- In a wok heat up sesame oil and peanut oil.
- Place in eggplant and stir frequently.
- Cook for about 10 minutes then add the garlic, ginger, five spice, onion powder, and keep stirring.
- When eggplant is just about done additional 10-15 minutes, pour in hoisin sauce, szechuan sauce, vegetable broth, peanut butter, and finally plum sauce, all the while stirring constanly.
- Take off heat and place eggplant on top of squash nicely.
- Sprinkle eggplant with sesame seeds, and top with basil.
- Dish is ready to serve. Enjoy!
- Serving Size: 4 servings
Song of the day: "China Girl" by David Bowie. P.s.: This one's for you David!
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