Tag: vegan

Burdock Chips

Burdock Chips

Sometimes you just need a crispy, crunchy snack. Instead of reaching for some overly processed, sodium laden bag of chips, try making a batch of these Burdock Chips. The crunch you crave, with the added bonus of all the nutrition benefits of burdock root. Full read more

Peanut Noodles

Peanut Noodles

These cold Peanut Noodles and summer are a perfect match. They are topped with cooling, crunchy veggies, and the peanut sauce is hands down the best you’ve ever had. Both the sauce and the noodles can be prepped the day before, which makes these peanut read more

Eggplant Dip

Eggplant Dip

Got a bumper crop of eggplants? This Eggplant Dip is an effortlessly delicious way to use them up! The eggplant gets broiled until the flesh is meltingly tender, with the slightly charred and smoky flavor you’d get from the grill. Without the whole standing outside in the heat over a grill part. Served with pita chips, this is perfect summer fare.

eggplant dip ingredients

Eggplants Love High Heat!

Whether it’s Lebanon’s baba ganoush, Morocco’s roasted eggplant salads, or Italy’s deep fried eggplant parmesan, eggplant benefits from high heat cooking methods. The flesh is rendered so soft and silky you can eat it with a spoon, and the heat concentrates the natural sugar. So if you know someone who says ‘eggplant is bitter’, whip up this eggplant dish and change their mind!

broil eggplant dip

steam eggplant dip

While I’m waiting for the eggplant to cool, I make the flavor base for the dip.

Spiced Eggplant Dip

The seasonings really make this eggplant dip sing. Tomato paste and paprika add to the smoky flavor. Cinnamon and cumin add earthy warmth. Peanut butter and cilantro bring an unexpected Southeast Asian twist. I start by sautéing an onion.

Stir in the spices and cook for another minute.

I like this dip a little chunky, so I pulse it about 10 times. If you would prefer it to be completely smooth you can skip the pulsing part and just process it to a smooth paste.

If you manage to not devour all of it with some pita chips, this eggplant dip makes an excellent sandwich spread. Or serve it with some plant based dishes for a fun mix and match meatless meal. It would be wonderful served alongside:

Try this Eggplant Dip and let me know what you think. Take a moment to rate the recipe below and leave a comment. And don’t forget to tag us in your pics @funkyasiankitchen, we love hearing from you!


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feature eggplant dip

Eggplant Dip

  • Author: Funky Asian Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4-6 1x
  • Category: small plates
  • Cuisine: Pan-Asian


  • 2 large globe eggplants
  • 3 tablespoons neutral oil
  • 1 medium onion chopped (or ¾ large onion)
  • 2 Tablespoons peeled and minced ginger
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  •  ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter (almond would be fine too)
  • 1 large handful of cilantro leaves (about ¼ bunch) chopped
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon ground pepper


  1. Heat your oven on broil high or heat a cast iron skillet until very hot. Put the eggplant on a baking tray as close to the broiling element as you can and broil for about 20-25 mins, rotating a little every 5-6 mins. The eggplant should be very soft and a little charred.
  2. Or if using the cast iron skillet, heat the skillet for several minutes on medium high. Cook the eggplant for 5-6 minutes, then rotate the eggplant. Cook for about 20-25 minutes until very soft and charred. 
  3. Put the eggplant in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap until cool enough to handle. 
  4. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat and add 3 tablespoons of oil, the diced onion, and ½ teaspoon salt. Saute for 5-6 minutes until softened and starting to brown. 
  5. Lower the heat to medium and add the garlic, ginger, and the tomato paste. Saute for another 2-3 mins. 
  6. Add the cumin, cinnamon, ground black pepper, and paprika. Stir the ingredients to combine them, cooking for about 1 minute. Turn off the heat.
  7. Trim off the end of the eggplant, cut the eggplant in half, scoop out the flesh, and add the eggplant to the food processor.
  8. Add the contents of the pan to the food processor plus the remaining ¾ teaspoon salt, peanut butter, chopped cilantro, and lime juice. Pulse the mixture approximately 10 times, until it has broken down but still a little chunky. 
  9. If you prefer it smooth, pulse a couple more times or just turn it on for a couple seconds. 
  10. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper as needed and serve eggplant dip with bread, crudité, or as a condiment to a large meal.

Keywords: eggplant, peanuts, cilantro, dips, southeast asian, dips, condiments

Jackfruit Bowls

Jackfruit Bowls

What shreds like pork, absorbs flavor like tofu, and packs more nutrients per serving than both? Jackfruit! Jackfruit is an incredibly versatile tropical fruit that is grown throughout Southeast Asia. When ripe, it gets sweet, sticky, and yellow-orange and is used in a variety of read more

Kinpira Renkon

Kinpira Renkon

Need to get out of a side dish rut? I’ve got you. This Japanese style stir fried lotus root dish, known as Kinpira Renkon, will help you shake things up. It’s a quick and simple veggie side that delivers phenomenal flavor, and complements just about read more

Shanghai Bok Choy

Shanghai Bok Choy

As Lunar New Year continues, we are celebrating with a new spin on a classic dish. This Shanghai Bok Choy dish is an oldie but a goodie. Tender baby bok choy is cooked with earthy shiitake mushrooms in an umami packed sauce. The final dish is so beautifully plated it gets everyone excited to eat their veggies.

Traditionally, this recipe is made with dried shiitake mushrooms. But my husband really dislikes dried shiitakes and will usually eat around them when they are in a dish. He finds them funky (not in a good way!) and musty. In order to avoid having to eat all of the mushrooms myself, and leaving him with a somewhat boring plate of plain bak choy, I decided to use fresh mushrooms instead. In addition, the baby Shanghai Bok Choy caught my eye at the store so of course, I bought them. And these cute little guys cook up fast!

In my humble opinion, you can never have too many quick vegetable sides in your repertoire. They are a great way to add variety, color, and health on the table. This speedy Shanghai Bok Choy recipe is on the table in 20 minutes, so let’s get into it!

Shanghai Bok Choy

The Shanghai variety of bok choy is more mild than regular bok choy, which is the dark green and white veggie that you’ve probably all seen before. The leaves of Shanghai Bok Choy are smooth and oval shaped and it’s a more compact size. Both can be used interchangeably. Shanghai Bok Choy comes in a couple of different sizes, as you can see below, but seek out the little baby ones so you can make this adorable presentation. Added bonus? The baby ones cook super fast so you can leave them whole.

If you’re using regular sized Shanghai Bok Choy, cut them in half lengthwise before continuing with the recipe.

It Starts with Sauce


How do you get the vegetable resistant people in your life to try something new? Prepare it with an addictive sauce. This is simple to make, but the flavor is anything but. Shaoxing wine adds a complex tang, oyster sauce brings richness and thickens it up (look for vegetarian versions if you want this to be vegan), and soy sauce adds deep umami flavor. I use stock for some liquid-you can use either chicken or veggie stock. A little sugar, toasted sesame oil, and a dash of white pepper rounds it out. You can sub black pepper, but white pepper has more of an earthy funk that I love here. Everything gets a quick whisk, and then set it aside.

Prep the Veggies

Now that the sauce is ready, it’s time to clean the Shanghai bok choy. Like leeks, they can have a lot of hidden dirt and grit, so a thorough washing is essential. I soak them in a bowl of water for a couple minutes and then swish them around with my hands to make sure any dirt falls out. Do this a couple of times to be safe. Nothing is worse than biting into gritty vegetables-been there.


When you go shopping for shiitakes, you will notice several different kinds. The best are the ones that look like turtles. They have a crackly cap and a deep dark color. The best quality dried mushrooms come from these “turtle” shiitakes. The next best type are the ones I’m using today. They have thick juicy caps and have a nice flavor. Part of the joy of eating shiitakes is the “toothsomeness” which is very important, so I avoid the thin flimsy shiitakes that cook out a ton of water and shrink to nothing.

For the preparation, I just remove the tough stem. Unless they are huge, I like to leave them whole.

The slurry will make a nicely thickened sauce. Taste it and adjust for seasoning, and then pile the saucy mushrooms into the center of the Shanghai bok choy.

Don’t save this dish for the new year. Shanghai Bok Choy is a perfect side for:

Or make it a Meatless Monday meal and pair with any of these:

However you enjoy this Shanghai Bok Choy, we want to hear about it! Rate and comment on the recipe below, and tag us in your pics @funkyasiankitchen, we love seeing your creations!


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Shanghai Bok Choy

  • Author: Funky Asian Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4-6 1x
  • Category: side
  • Cuisine: Chinese


  • 1 pound baby shanghai bok choy 
  • 8 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms (about 910 mushrooms)
  • 2 Tablespoons neutral oil, divided
  • 1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced and divided
  • ½ cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon water


  • 2 Tablespoons Shaoxing wine
  • 1 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon oyster sauce (or vegetarian oyster sauce)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • A dash ground white pepper
  • ¼ cup chicken or vegetable stock


  1. Combine the shaoxing wine, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, sesame oil, and white pepper.
  2. Mix well and set aside.
  3. Trim the base of the shanghai bok choy if dry or dirty.
  4. Soak the bok choy in a large bowl of water in the sink for a minute. Then, using your hands, stir the vegetables to release any dirt or sand. Repeat this process a couple of times or as necessary, until the water is clean and there is no sand or dirt at the bottom of the bowl.
  5. Trim the shiitake stems and discard. Set the mushrooms aside.
  6. Heat a large skillet over medium heat for several minutes. Add 1 Tablespoon of oil, 1 Tablespoon sesame oil, and half of the minced garlic.
  7. Stir for a couple of seconds and then add the bok choy. Stir to combine. 
  8. Add ½ cup of chicken stock, ⅛ teaspoon of salt, and cover with a lid. Cook for 3 minutes, using chopsticks or tongs to flip them around several times to cook them evenly. 
  9. Arrange the bok choy attractively on a platter in a ring shape, leaving the center open for the mushrooms. Drain any remaining liquid from the bok choy in the pan and return it to the stove.
  10. Again heat the pan over medium high heat. Add 1Tablespoon neutral oil, the remaining minced garlic, and mushrooms. Stir fry for 10 seconds. 
  11. Stir in the sauce, lower heat to medium, cover with the lid, and simmer for 3-4 minutes.
  12. Combine the water and cornstarch, making sure it’s completely smooth, and slowly pour it into the sauce while stirring constantly. Let the mushrooms cook for an additional minute and taste the sauce. Adjust the seasoning with salt or pepper as needed.
  13. The sauce should be thick enough to coat a spoon. Add a little hot water if the sauce is too thick or more cornstarch slurry if the sauce is too thin. 
  14. Transfer the mushrooms and sauce to the center of your Shanghai bok choy ring, and serve  immediately.


*I used baby shanghai bok choy which is about ½ the size of regular shanghai bok choy. I like that I can use it whole. If you are using regular shanghai bok choy, trim the base and cut it in half lengthwise before using.

*If you are using boxed stock, taste the sauce before adding any additional salt. Some commercial stocks are very salty.

Keywords: bok choy, plant based, veggie sides, shiitakes