Asian Chicken and Baby Eggplant with Toasted Sesame Seeds and Cashews

Makes 4 servings

Chicken marinade:
4 (1/2 -pound pieces) of boneless, skinless chicken breast (2 pounds total)
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
Juice 1 lime
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 cup wild rice or brown rice
2 1/2 cups water

10 to 12 baby eggplant, stems removed, and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
2 scalions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus extra for garnish
1 tablespoon lightly toasted sesame seeds
2 tablespoons roasted unsalted (or salted, if you prefer) cashew halves

1. In a large Ziploc bag or tightly closed container, add chicken and marinade ingredients and shake well. Refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours or up to 6 hours. 

2. Place rice and water in a medium pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, partially cover and cook for 25 to 30 minutes or until the water is absorbed and the rice is cooked through yet still firm.

3. Take chicken out of the refrigerator 20 minutes before cooking. In a large non-skillet over medium heat, warm 1 tablespoon sesame oil. Add the chicken. Cook for 4 minutes without touching. Flip and cook an additional 2 minutes. Add remaining 1 tablespoon sesame oil and eggplant slices. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the eggplant begins to soften and brown. Add the scallions and cilantro, and stir. Cook until the chicken is nicely browned all over and the eggplant is tender. Spread rice evenly on a serving dish and sprinkle with sesame seeds and cashews, and, if desired, chopped fresh cilantro.

Recipe created by Susan Russo of Food Blogga.