In central Asia/western China there is a popular dish called lagman that is essentially a stewed/stir fried vegetable dish over noodles. Sometime lamb is added, but I think it is delicious as vegetarian dish. Here is my version where I have added some Chinese influence and western technique.
1 large eggplant, cut into 1-in pieces
1 28 oz can of whole tomatoes, crushed and liquid reserved separately
2 onions diced
8 cloves of garlic smashed
2 Tbsp of ginger julienned
2 Tbsp of tomato paste (optional)
2 Tbsp of doubanjiang (optional)
1 Tbsp of dark soy sauce
red pepper flakes, to taste
1 tsp of ground cumin
1 tsp of ground black pepper
1-2 star anise
1 bay leaf
1 small zucchini, 1-in dice
1 small summer squash or another zucchini, 1-in dice
1 red bell pepper, 1-in dice
1 orange or yellow bell pepper, 1-in dice
1 Tbsp of black rice vinegar (prefer Shaanxi)
Light soy sauce to taste
cilantro for garnish
fresh wheat noodles
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees.
- Heat 1/4 cup oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering.
- Add onions, garlic, ginger then cook, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes until onions are translucent and start to soften.
- Add tomato paste, doubanjiang, pepper flakes, spices and bay leaf then cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute.
- Stir in reserved tomato juice and reduce for a few minutes.
- Stir in eggplant and crushed tomatoes and dark soy sauce.
- Transfer pot to oven and cook, uncovered for about 40 to 45 minutes, until vegetables are very tender and spotty brown.
- Remove pot from oven and, using potato masher or heavy wooden spoon, smash and stir eggplant mixture until broken down to sauce-like consistency.
- Stir in zucchini, bell peppers and 1 tbsp of light soy sauce then return pot to oven.
- Cook uncovered for about 20 to 25 minutes until zucchini and bell peppers are just tender.
- Remove pot from oven, cover and let stand for about 10 to 15 minutes until zucchini is translucent and easily pierced with tip of paring knife.
- Using wooden spoon, scrape any browned bits from sides of pot and stir back into ratatouille.
- Discard bay leaf then stir in 2 tablespoons of cilantro and vinegar.
- Season with salt, light soy sauce and pepper to taste.
- Serve with favorite wheat noodles and additional cilantro to garnish.