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Washington Post

Expand taste of stir-fry

When it comes to stir-frying, there’s no reason to restrict the range of ingredients. This particular grouping offers a great mix of texture and flavor contrast – plus, the dish looks and tastes like fall.

Serve with couscous and a dollop of harissa (a red pepper paste), or over some fresh sprouts. Adapted from “Lydia Lunch: The Need to Feed, a Hedonist’s Guide,” created with Marcy Blaustein (Universe, 2012).

Stir-Fry of Eggplant, Sweet Potato and Cashew Nuts With Tofu

2 medium (14 ounces total) sweet potatoes

2 medium cloves garlic

1-inch piece ginger root

1 small green or red chili pepper

2 small (about 15 ounces total) eggplants

1 cup firm cubed tofu

1/2 cup lightly packed basil leaves

3 tablespoons peanut oil

1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce

1/2 cup roasted unsalted cashews

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

As you prep the following ingredients, keep them separate: Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into small dice to yield about 3 cups. Mince the garlic. Peel the ginger and mince or grate it finely. Stem and seed the chili pepper, then mince. Cut the eggplants into medium dice to yield about 2 1/2 cups. Drain the tofu and blot it dry with paper towels. Stack and roll the basil leaves, then cut them crosswise into very thin strips.

Heat a well-seasoned wok or large skillet over high heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat; once you see a wisp of smoke, add the sweet potato and stir-fry for about 8 minutes, until tender and lightly caramelized. Add the garlic, ginger and chili pepper; stir-fry for about 20 seconds until fragrant, then add the soy sauce and eggplant. Stir-fry for about 2 minutes, until the eggplant begins to get tender.

Add the tofu and cashews; stir-fry for 1 or 2 minutes, then remove from the heat.

Stir in the toasted sesame oil and the basil. Divide among individual plates. Serve hot. Makes 3 to 4 servings (Makes about 7 cups).

– Bonnie S. Benwick, Washington Post