Eggplant always surprises.
This is one of those dishes things that is an absolute surprise! The sort of recipe that makes you want to rush out to plant your own huge eggplant patch! This is more of a summer dish in Japan as eggplants are one of the best antidotes to Japan’s hot and sultry summers. But it can be cooked at any time that eggplants are in season. The broth is heavenly, and the eggplant acts like tofu, soaking up all of the flavours.
Japanese Simmered Sautéed Eggplant in Beautiful Broth
Cuisine: Japanese Style
Prep Time: 15mins including time to soak the eggplant
Cook Time: 15 mins
Serves: 2 – 3
1 – 2 cups light stock or water
1 Tblspn mirin (available at supermarkets and Asian shops)
1 piece kombu (available at Asian shops)
2 tspns sugar
2 Tblsps dark soy
0.5 – 1 tspn light miso paste
0.5 Tblspn dulse flakes or nori flakes (optional – available at Asian shops)
chives or spring onions (green onions in the US)
Cut the eggplant in half lengthways and lightly score the skin on the diagonal each centimetre. Then cut into 1 cm slices. If the eggplant is large and fat, cut the larger slices into half. Put the slices in cold water to soak for 10 minutes, then drain and squeeze gently to remove any bitter juices.
Heat the oil in a wok or deep frying pan. Add the eggplant slices and sauté them over medium heat for 5 minutes until they are half cooked. Ladle in enough stock to cover and then add the mirin, kombu, sugar and soy sauce. Cover, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes or so until the eggplant slices are very soft and the simmering liquid has reduced a little. If it is not reducing, remove the cover for the last 5 mins of cooking.
Remove the kombu and stir through the miso paste.
Choose small deep bowls for serving. Divide the eggplant among the bowls, spooning over a little of the cooking liquid. Garnish with the seaweed flakes if using, and some lengths of chives.
The eggplant is even better left to cool to room temperature.