While challenges in life generally stress me the hell out, I’m endlessly fascinated with food challenges. Caroline Rector, the minimalist fashion blogger at Unfancy, often talks about how she’s shifted to looking at mistakes with a “Oh, how fascinating!” lens rather than that weary face emoji and the stress that little face conveys. I’ve tried to keep this idea in mind and apply it in my life towards challenges/when life throws me any sized curveball.
So when I got invited to a Chinese themed potluck dinner, my “Oh! How fascinating!” voice popped up and started to think what could I possibly make that would fit in Chinese food and be healthy. Even though I’m half Chinese, I don’t cook a lot of Chinese food. Most of the Chinese food I had growing up wasn’t super healthy (it is still super delicious), lots of fried stuff, pork on pork on pork, or food with a fair amount of technique I’m okay with leaving to the experts.
I thought for a split second of remaking the dumplings I made for a friend a few weeks back, but the flow of my day wouldn’t really allow that without upending some really important things for me. So I let that idea go and went to my cookbook shelf.
A few years back, I went through a cookbook phase where I bought up a lot of Chinese and regional Chinese cookbooks in an attempt to connect to that part of my heritage. I discovered a lot of it wasn’t in my wheel house, so I’ve let some of those books go. But I refused to let go of my Martin Yan cookbooks. I opened the most bookmarked one, Martin Yan’s Chinatown Cooking. Three bookmarks in, I found a recipe for a spicy eggplant dish.
I’ve been making a good amount of eggplant dishes this summer and I just love how delicious and filling it can be. Martin Yan’s original recipe called for frying and a few ingredients I didn’t want to buy, so I tweaked the recipe to be healthier (roasting over frying) and to my taste.
My Spicy Roasted Eggplant went over really well at the potluck and I wanted to share it with you to give you another eggplant dish to enjoy as the season starts to change.
When I made this Spicy Roasted Eggplant for the potluck, I made a lot more sauce and had a jalapeño with a lot of seeds, which made this dish very spicy. When I made it again for you, I made less sauce and happened to get a jalapeño with less seeds (by chance) so it’s spice level went from WHOA to oh, spicy. If you want WHOA spicy, make a little more sauce, throw in an extra jalapeño, and let the eggplant sit in the sauce a little bit before serving. I’ve been enjoying the Spicy Roasted Eggplant as a side dish, but you can easily put it on top of rice, maybe throw an egg or tempeh with it had enjoy it as a main dish as well.
Do you approach your food challenges, whether they be food sensitivities, food choices or keeping things healthy in a lighter, less stressful “Oh, how fascinating!” way? If you don’t, I would definitely encourage you to put the potential stress of your food challenges on it’s ear and see what you can learn or what new things you can try. It brings a bit more fun to food, and let’s face it, food should be fun. There are enough stressful things out there.