Veggies in Spicy Hoisin Sauce - Easy

The monthly farmer's market was conveniently right outside the staff entrance of the building where I work, so there was no excuse not to check out the produce.  One of the stands had the most adorable baby eggplants I had ever seen!  Since I'm the only one in the family that will eat eggplant, I picked out the two cutest babies.  While on line to pay, i noticed the yellow squash beckoning as well, so two additional veggies accompanied me back to my desk. 

By coincidence, one of the bazillion websites I subscribe to by email (as opposed to the bazillion websites I view via RSS feed) delivered an eggplant recipe.  It used the standard ginger and garlic, but I really wanted to make a version similar to the eggplant I get at my local Chinese restaurant, made with hoisin sauce.  So I came up with something that was not anywhere near kinda-sorta, but totally delicious (IMHO) anyway.

I used the two vegetables in this recipe, but the use of two are not required.  If you like, use only the squash.   Or only the eggplant and saute for just 3-4 minutes.  Or even another veggie you happen to have on hand and adjust the cooking time accordingly. Hoisin sauce is very versatile.

Warning -- if horseradish gives you a 2nd degree tongue burn, drop the amount of sambal oelek (a spicy chili paste) down to 1/4 teaspoon or omit it completely.

Veggies in Spicy Hoisin Sauce
make 3-4 servings

1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs. hoisin sauce
1 Tbs. soy sauce (low-sodium ok)
1 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 tsp. sambal oelek
1 tsp. chopped garlic (bottled ok)
1 tsp. ground ginger
2 baby eggplants
2 yellow squash
1 scallion (optional)
1 tsp. sesame seeds (optional)

In a small bowl, whisk vinegar, hoisin sauce and soy sauce.  Set aside.

 Slice the eggplants lengthwise, then cut into 1/2 inch or so slices.  Slice the squash into 1/2 pieces as well.  Cut the scallion into 2 inch pieces.  Set the veggies aside.

Heat a small skillet over medium-high heat.  When hot, add oil, wait 10 seconds for it to heat, then add sambal oelek, garlic and ginger.  Stir for 30 seconds to release their fragrance, then add eggplant and squash.

Stir occasionally for 5 minutes until both vegetables are softened and start to brown.

Stir in sauce (it will immediately boil up and reduce), then scallions (if using).

Immediately remove pan from heat and top veggies with sesame seeds, if desired.

 Serve warm alongside the entree of your choice.

Gratuitous photo of dog, as per the request of a Faithful Reader.