Even if I have nothing else in the garden, I have 2-4 Japanese (sometimes called Ichiban) Eggplant plants and as much Thai Basil as possible. If I can find them, I buy basil plants, and I also use seeds. In this way, I can increase the number of weeks I can have this amazing basil.
We have some variation of Thai Basil stir fry at least once a week, and this is NOT a hardship.
For a stir fry, I cut items the same size, both for cooking time, looks, and for texture. Then, I add veg in order of cooking time.
For the sauce, I like a good mix of salty, sweet, and sour, and a nice kick from freshly grated ginger or galangal (I keep these in the freezer and grate as needed–no need to peel off skin).
This year, the garden is sparse and I did not find any basil plants. My seeds did sprout, and this first harvest was small but much desired and just enough to taste.
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar, also called sushi vinegar
1/4 cup mirin
1/8 cup sugar or other sweetener
1 fresh garlic clove or the equivalent of garlic powder
1 Tablespoon freshly grated ginger or galangal
optional: 1-2 teaspoons of Huy Fong Sambal Oelek Chili Paste (found in most grocery stores)
It is important to taste the sauce as you mix to get the right balance or sweet and tanginess and not too much saltiness. I rarely measure and often tweak the sauce, as the garlic and ginger are the wildcards in potency.
Veg and Meat (can easily be meatless) Ingredients:
Lightly coat pan with a neutral oil
2-3 Thin slices of thin sliced pork loin chops
2-3 small Japanese eggplants, or other smaller varieties, sliced
1 small white or yellow onion, sliced
1-2 small, sweet red, orange, and/or yellow bell peppers, sliced
1-2 cups fresh Thai Basil leaves (if you must, you can use regular sweet basil, but it will taste very different). I leave in parts of the stem and the flowers for crunch and flavor
Cook pork until just barely done and remove.
Add a bit more oil to the pan and add eggplant. This needs to cook more than the other veg. These should be thin slices and should cook about 5-6 minutes on medium to high. Stir as you fry.
Add onions and peppers and stir fry for 2 minutes.
Add pork and sauce. One more minute. Just to heat through and coat everything. It will not be a sauce that thickens.
Turn of heat and stir in fresh Thai Basil leaves.
Serve with Jasmine rice, fresh spring rolls (if you can wing them), and fresh melon and berries.