a bold, spicy vegetable dish with sweet honey peanuts
10 oz green beans, trimmed
10 oz sugar snap peas
4 baby bok choy, ends trimmed & halved lengthwise
4 oz chopped peanuts
1 oz honey
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
10 oz sliced Japanese eggplant (1/4” thick)
Spicy Chili Sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup rice wine
2 tbsp roasted red chili paste
2 tsp fish sauce
Prepare a large pot of boiling, salted water. Blanch the green beans, sugar snap peas, and baby bok choy separately until each vegetable is slightly tender and bright green, about 3-4 minutes per vegetable. Strain and transfer them to an ice bath. Allow to cool in the ice bath for 1 minute. Strain the vegetables again and let dry on paper towels.
Meanwhile, add the peanuts and honey to a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir together and let cook until the honey comes to a bubble. Simmer the mixture until the moisture evaporates and the honey coats the peanuts (should be a sticky coating). Transfer the peanuts to a plate and immediately season with a generous amount of salt. Set aside.
Coat the bottom of a large sauté pan with oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and sauté for a few minutes. Add the eggplant. Make sure to arrange the eggplant so that it lays in a flat, even layer. You want the oil to reach each slice. Let the eggplant and the shallots cook until tender and completely caramelized (they should be golden browned), stirring occasionally. Adjust the heat if needed so the eggplant cooks well, but does not burn.
Spicy Chili Sauce
Meanwhile, coat another large sauté pan with oil over medium heat (not too much oil here, just enough to lightly coat the pan). Add the garlic and let cook for 30 seconds until fragrant (be careful not to burn the garlic or else it will be bitter). Add the blanched vegetables and stir to coat. Let the vegetables caramelize slightly. Deglaze the pan with the rice wine. Bring the liquid to a bubble. Stir in the chili paste and fish sauce. Let the mixture simmer, stirring often. Transfer the eggplant mixture to the pan. The entire dish should have a good coating of sauce. When the sauce has thickened and reduced, taste the vegetables. Season with more fish sauce if needed.
Transfer the vegetables to a large bowl and squeeze a generous amount of lime juice over top. Garnish with the honey peanuts.