Diet News and a Spicy Eggplant, Shrimp and Gai Lan with Soba Recipe

by Sarah on February 25, 2011

Well, so far it’s going swimmingly.

1) I joined a gym (!)
2) I did not eat any Girl Scout cookies.
3) If you count coffee, I actually ate 3 meals today.
4) I made this delightful and delicious dinner and I believe it was diet-friendly.

Not too bad, considering–like usual–I didn’t shop and the groceries shown is just what was hanging out around the house.   I put shrimp in this too, but forgot to take it’s photo.

And don’t let that giant jar of sugar fool you, I only used a teaspoon.

First, I made the sauce so it could hang out and let the flavors get to know each other a little bit.  “Hey, how you doin'”?

Then chopped up the rest of the stuff, and if you’ll remember from the last stir-fry lesson, put it in bowls with like ingredients so that I could just dump the whole bowl in when I was ready for it.  No fumbling around for ingredients when you’ve got garlic and onion burning on the stovetop.

Again, if you’ll recall, stir-fries happen in steps.  First step is to cook the aromatics and vegetables that take the longest to cook–like hard stems, carrots, celery, etc…

After the onion and the stems of the Gai Lan (‘Chinese broccoli’ is what my local Chinese joint, New Hong Kong Wok call it)  have cooked a few minutes, add the eggplant.

Add that awesome sauce you made earlier, stir it around and cover the wok.  Turn the heat down to medium-low and let cook for about 10 minutes, or until the eggplant is cooked through.  Stir it around once or twice.

Turn the heat back up to high.

Toss in the shrimp and the leaves of the gai lan.  I heartily recommend uncooked shrimp.  I just had this cooked stuff in the freezer so that’s what I used.  If you use cooked shrimp, don’t put it in quite yet.  Mine got just slightly overdone.  You might want to wait till the greens wilt down some, then toss it in.

You can also toss in the cornstarch mixture and let it boil along with the leaves.  It will help thicken the sauce so it becomes even more delicious.

Lastly, take your boiled soba noodles–I forgot to mention that you should’ve boiled some noodles in there–and toss them around in the wok with your veggies and sauce.

Taste for seasoning, and adjust with soy or chili sauce as necessary.

I survived day 2 of the diet.  Tomorrow, the gym.

Spicy Eggplant, Shrimp and Gai Lan with Soba Noodles


  • 3/4 lb uncooked shrimp, cleaned and shells removed
  • 2 Japanese eggplant, cut into slices
  • 1 bunch gai lan (Chinese broccoli), leaves and stems separated
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 1 Tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 Tbsp chopped garlic
  • 5 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2-3 Tbsp chili sauce
  • 2-3 Tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar or honey
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp water mixed with 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 package soba noodles


  • Prepare the sauce. Mix together in a small bowl, the sugar or honey, soy sauce, chili sauce and oyster sauce and black pepper. Set aside. Mix together the cornstarch and water in another small bowl and set aside.
  • Prepare your 'mise en place'. Chop onions into half-circles and mince or grate the ginger and garlic and place in a bowl. Separate the tougher stems from the leaves of the gai lan, the stems can go in the same bowl as the onions. The leaves will go in last.
  • Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a wok or large frying pan over high heat.
  • First add the onion, garlic, ginger and gai lan stems. Cook, stirring constantly until they are beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the eggplant, then the soy sauce mixture. Stir, then cover. Turn down the heat to medium or medium-low. Cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the uncooked shrimp and gai lan leaves. Toss to combine. Add cornstarch mixture and bring to a boil. Sauce should thicken.
  • Add the soba and toss to combine. Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed.

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