Ever since I started eating sushi, I've convinced myself that the use of chopsticks as opposed to a fork promotes weight loss. Sort of a bold thing to declare, but if put less literally, I just assumed that using chopsticks allows you to pace yourself during a meal, and in effect consume less food than you would otherwise.
Apparently, I'm not the only genius out there, and such a theory already exists...
In any case, I love food that gives me an excuse to use anything other than a fork and spoon. And now with my theory officially confirmed, I have reason to use chopsticks all the time, yay!
Soba Noodles with Japanese Eggplant & Tofu
yield: 6-7 servings
canola oil, as needed
1 lb (3 medium) Japanese eggplants, sliced on the bias into 1/2-inch slices
3 scallions, sliced on the bias
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 inch piece ginger, finely chopped
3 tbsp peanut butter
4 tbsp oyster sauce
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 lb tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 cups enoki mushrooms
1 1/2 cups hot water
1 lb soba noodles
1/2 cup bean sprouts
3 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
Fill a large, deep pot with canola oil to reach 1/4 inch up the sides. Heat over medium-high heat. Brown the eggplant, about 4 minutes per side. With a slotted spoon, remove the eggplant from the pot, lower the heat, and add scallions (reserving 1/2 cup for garnish), garlic, and ginger. Saute 1-2 minutes.
Stir in peanut butter, oyster sauce, and brown sugar. Cook 1-2 minutes, until everything dissolves. Place the browned eggplant, tofu, and enoki mushrooms into the pot, and add water. Bring to a boil. Cover, and simmer 25-30 minutes, until eggplant is completely tender.
Cook the soba noodles: Place noodles into a large pot of boiling salted water, and cook 6-7 minutes.
Transfer noodles to the pot with vegetables. Add bean sprouts and sesame seeds and stir to combine. Garnish with reserved scallions.
Grab some chop sticks, and go.