2 large or 3 medium eggplant (the long, thin ones, often called japanese or asian eggplant)
1 onion, any variety (about the size of a tennis ball)
2-3 T coconut oil
Fish sauce such as three crabs brand, optional but worth the investment (see below), about 2 teaspoons
2 T pad thai paste (ketchup or all fruit apricot spread)
In a large skillet, over medium heat, add coconut oil.
Chop the onion into about 1 inch pieces, add to pan.
Saute until onions are translucent (but not yet browning).
Dice eggplant into approximately one inch cubes.
Add eggplant and stir well.
Cover and reduce heat to a low simmer ( on my electric stove it is #3 setting)
Simmer for about 10-20 min. It's time to add the seasonings when the eggplant is soft and translucent, but still holding its shape (if it's already collapsing, no big deal) Add remaining ingredients (or the seasonings of your choice), stir to blend, recover and simmer until the eggplant pieces have collapsed and become very soft, with a creamy, melt-in-your- mouth texture.
Serve as a side-dish or as a meatless main dish. Tonight I had about 1/2 the recipe with 1/2 cup wild rice as my dinner.
Eggplant - the asian eggplants work best, because they're not bitter and the skins are thin and edible, so you don't have to peel or salt to leach out the bitterness, because there is none. If you can find an asian market, the eggplant and the seasonings will usually be much cheaper than in most supermarkets.
Fish sauce - Whenever someone asks for my recipes for spaghetti sauce, meatloaf, caesar salad dressing, taco meat... and other basic dishes, it's usually the fish sauce replacing the salt and/or Worcestershire sauce that sets my recipe apart from their own. Unless you add way too much, there is no noticeable hint of fishy flavor or aroma - it just adds a subtle depth of flavor. I almost never use Worcestershire sauce, because fish sauce tastes better AND is much cheaper.
Soy sauce (and most asian seasonings and vegetables) also worth seeking out an asian market or grocery store, because you can buy high-quality gourmet soysauces (usually in much larger bottles) for the same price as what you'd find in a typical supermarket.
Rice vinegar or rice wine vinegar - even though not used in this recipe, this is also worth considering (even if you don't have access to an asian grocery store, most supermarkets will carry it). Milder than most vinegars, it's great for salad dressings, because little or no oil is needed to counterbalance the tartness, can be used in place of other vinegar (it's too weak for most non-asian pickle recipes).