Thai-Style Spicy Eggplant-Mushroom Sauce

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1/2 pound mushrooms
1 medium shallot
2 medium garlic cloves
1/2 tablespoon hunan style red chili paste
1-1/2 cups rice milk or milk -substitute
1 pound eggplant
1 medium red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped asparagus stems or peas
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 tablespoon plum sauce
1/2 tablespoon ginger
1/4 cup veggie stock
3 drops toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons tapioca flour

1. Mince garlic and shallot; quarter mushrooms, dice eggplant into 1-inch cubes and slice red bell pepper into long strips.

2. In a large frying pan, on medium head add stock and mushrooms.

3. Simmer for 5 minutes or until mushrooms are tender and brown.

4. Remove mushrooms and set aside.

5. In remaining stock add shallot and garlic, sauté for 1-2 minutes.

6. Add chili paste and milk.

7. Bring mixture to a boil then reduce heat and simmer on low for 5 minutes, stirring often.

8. Add sugar, plum sauce and sesame oil (only a few drops! it's amazing the flavor it adds).

9. Add eggplant, asparagus stems and red bell pepper. 11. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes stirring occasionally until eggplant and asparagus are tender. 12. In the last 5 minutes add mushrooms and fresh basil leaves. 13. Serve over grilled polenta or rice and the steamed asparagus tips.

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