it's notoriously hard for me to commit to cooking pan-asian inspired cuisine at home. it just always seems like the list of ingredients i'm missing is longer than the list of ones already on hand. and whereas with pastas or salads i can tell which spices and oils are essential and which can be substituted or left out altogether, this same "expertise" has yet to extend into (westernized) thai or chinese cuisine.
which is why i was really excited to come across a stir fry recipe that even i, in my humble and ingredient-limited kitchen, can easily throw together. the sauce consists of three ingredients: black bean sauce, soy sauce, and water. check, check, and check.
you can choose which vegetables to thrown in according to the season or state of your fridge, and the dish can be served with any type of noodle or atop rice. we integrated the noodles with the vegetables at the end, but you could also keep it separate. light, flavorful, and versatile: after making an appearance in our flat for the first time a month ago, this guy already earned its place among the go-to staples.
vegetable black bean stir fry
1 eggplant, diced
1 broccoli head, chopped into tiny florets
1 red pepper, cut into long strips
4 handfuls of fresh spinach
3 tbsp sunflower oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 piece ginger, finely diced
1/2 chili (without the seeds)
1 medium-sized onion, sliced in long strips
1/2 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
1/2 bunch basil, roughly chopped
1 bunch chives, roughly chopped
250 g rice noodles
5 tbsp water
4 tbsp black bean sauce
3 tbsp soy sauce**
heat the oil in a large non-stick pan. when it's hot, toss in the onion, garlic, ginger, and chili and fry for around 2 minutes, until onion softens. add in other vegetables and cook for another 7 to 9 minutes until al dente.
meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook rice noodles for 3-6 minutes (check package instructions so as not to overcook them).
drain rice noodles and add to the vegetables. add water, black bean, and soy sauce, and let simmer for another minute or two. remove from heat and stir in cilantro, chives, and basil. serve immediately.
**this dish can be gluten free - just check that the soy and black bean sauces are gluten free.