Paleo Eggplant Chicken Stir-Fry with Asian Cabbage Salad
Posted Jan 15 2013 6:02pm
We are well into the second week of our Paleo Challenge and we are still going strong, enjoying some new recipe creations and feeling good, though I’m a bit under the weather at the moment. I woke up yesterday not feeling too well…nauseated, pounding headache and very tired. I’m not sure if it is the regular old bug that is going around or what. Today, my stomach feels better, but I’m still SO tired!
Speaking of Paleo, my husband and I have decided to extend our 30 day challenge by two days, ending on February 9th, since we splurged last Saturday night while on our little getaway and this coming Sunday, we are hosting a “post-holiday” dinner with my husband’s family. It will be hard to completely stick to our Paleo way of eating this coming Sunday because my husband’s mom always makes the most wonderful desserts and bakes a variety of yummy breads. When we started the challenge, we didn’t think we would run into any issues, but hey, isn’t that life? Since we decided to embark on this challenge for our own little “science” experiment we want to give our bodies a full 30 days of being on it to fully measure our results (if there are any). More to come…
Anyhow, since I’ve been not feeling too hot, I thought it would be great to post a new recipe creation that we made on Sunday night (I know, the title is a mouth full, but it is so worth it!). It was one of the most satisfying Asian meals we have had in a long time! Even when our Paleo Challenge ends, I still think we will make this on a regular basis, because the cabbage provided a surprisingly wonderful base, just like rice (my husband probably thinks otherwise!).
Paleo Eggplant Chicken Stir-Fry with Asian Cabbage Salad
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Eggplant Chicken Stir-Fry:
2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into medium cubes, or thinly sliced
Fish sauce, to taste
1 red onion
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1-3 tsp ginger, peeled and finely minced
1 large jalapeno, or whatever type of pepper you want to use, sliced on diagonal
4 small eggplants, cut into 1-inch cubes
The whites of three green onions (reserved from cabbage salad prep)*
Splash of toasted sesame oil
Coconut oil for frying
About 1/4 c of water, in case you need to moisten the stir-fry
Asian Cabbage Salad:
1 head of cabbage, quartered and very thinly sliced
3 green onions, very thinly chopped, whites reserved for stir-fry*
1 large handful of sugar snap peas, very thinly sliced on diagonal
2 tomatoes, large dice (about 1/2-inch cubes)
1/2 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
6-8 Tbsp tahini
4-8 T olive oil (just enough to thin out the dressing)
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/2 to 1 tsp ginger, peeled and finely minced (to taste)
-1/4 t to 1 Tbsp of chili garlic paste (to taste)
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
Lemon juice, unfiltered apple cider vinegar (or both), to taste (I use around 5 T of acid)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Assembling Salad: Mix the cabbage, green onions, sugar snap peas, tomatoes, and cilantro in a large bowl.
In a smaller bowl, whisk together tahini, olive oil, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, chile paste, acid, and season with salt and pepper. Adjust tahini, oils, salt, pepper, and acid to suit your preference.
Pour dressing over cabbage mix, stir well.
Reserve the portions of salad you'll use for the stir-fry base, and leave at room temperature. Package the rest for sleep in the fridge. (If you're making ahead, pull out the portions you'll use with the stir-fry and leave at room temperature before you prep anything else; you don't want to serve your nice hot stir-fry on top of a cold salad.)
Cooking Stir-fry: In a very large skillet, saute pan, wok, or pot (non-stick will make things easier), heat a few Tbsp of coconut oil at high heat.
Add HALF of the onion, garlic, and ginger to the pan, and cook for about 1 minute.
Add the chicken, season with a little salt and pepper, and cook until cooked through. Just before it's done, add a splash of fish sauce and cook it for a bit more (you just need to reduce the fish sauce).
Remove all chicken and aromatics from the pan and keep in a bowl. Add around 4-6 T coconut oil to the pan (you'll need more than you think, because the eggplant will soak up a lot of the oil).
Add in the rest of the onion, garlic, and ginger. Add the jalapeno slices. Cook for about 1 minute.
Add the eggplant and green onion whites, season with salt and pepper, and continue cooking at high heat until the eggplant starts getting soft around the edges.
Add the chicken and aromatics back to the pan, making sure to get all of the good juices. Add the splash of sesame oil and continue cooking until the eggplant is cooked (but not slop).
If the stir-fry is really dry because there wasn't a lot of juices from the chicken, add some water to help create a little bit of a sauce.
Scoop stir-fry on top of cabbage salad and enjoy!
The cabbage salad makes a LOT, and as leftovers it makes a great base for a lot of things, like Asian chicken salad (add some more greens, if you'd like, and some sliced red bell peppers, slivered nuts, etc.) or the filling for a lettuce wrap. The salad is rather mild to serve as a nice compliment/base for the stir-fry, so if you're going to use it for a stand-alone salad, I would increase the amount of acid used in the dressing to give the end result a little more zip.
You can go crazy with different versions of this stir-fry. You can add broccoli, bok choy, sliced red and yellow bell peppers for color, etc. You can add a little coconut milk at the end of cooking to make a sauce, but it wouldn't play well with the cabbage salad (despite the sesame oil), so I'd only do that if I was serving the stir-fry by itself, or with a different base. I find that with the coconut oil, there's a tiny suggestion of sweetness, so you don't need to actually add a sweetener like it is traditionally done.