Of Rice and Ramen: Spicy Black Bean Eggplant


Thai eggplants

This dish is a summer favorite for me. Its bold flavor adds complexity to the three main ingredients, otherwise plain on their own. I often buy the eggplant and string beans fresh from the farmer’s markets while they are in season. Each week that I visit the market, I buy different produce, and have used different varieties of eggplant (Italian, Thai, Chinese) all with delicious results.

Take note: you will need a large wok for this recipe. If you don’t have one, cut the recipe in half, or cook the eggplant and string beans separately, then combine them with the meat and sauce in a bowl on the side. For the spicy black beans, I like to use Lao Gan Ma, which you can buy at any Asian grocer.


  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1⁄2 lb fresh string beans
  • 1 lb eggplant, any variety
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp spicy black beans
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp rice wine
  • 1-2 tsp white or rice vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • cooking oil


  • Rinse the eggplant(s) and string beans.
  • Cut the string beans into 1-2” pieces and the eggplant into 1” cubes.
  • Heat about 1 teaspoon of oil in a wok and add the minced garlic. Let the garlic flavor the oil.
  • Add the ground turkey, garlic powder and onion powder and cook until most of the pink is gone.
  • Add the eggplant and green beans, and saute until eggplant starts to become tender, about 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Mix in the remaining ingredients and adjust amounts according to taste. Continue to cook over medium heat for another 5-10 minutes before serving over white rice.