Once upon a time, somewhere in mid-america, I knew a lot of people who didn’t like veggies. I think the accepted method of vegetable preparation in that area was to boil the veggies to within an inch of their life. I don’t know. All I know is that after I got to them, I had a lot of these people eating veggies that they never thought they would eat. I have managed to get a begrudging acceptance of brussels sprouts out of some die-hard veggie haters. A lot of it is just knowing what techniques best bring out the flavor. And knowing when to stop cooking. Let’s face it, there are some veggies that are just awful if they aren’t cooked right.
Eggplant is one of those vegetables. Undercooked, it can be tough, chewy and bitter. Cooked properly, it is buttery and tender and a bit sweet. If you’ve always hated the texture of eggplant, you might experiment with cooking it longer, it can be almost melt-in-your-mouth. It can take a fair amount of time to cook eggplant thoroughly, so be patient. Salting prior to cooking may help decrease any bitterness and I find it helps a lot with stir-frying to keep it from getting too oily. I also find eggplant gets more bitter as it sits, so use it quickly after purchasing/picking.
So chop up your eggplant, sprinkle generously with salt, and let sit for 20-30 minutes while you chop up the other ingredients. Then rinse thoroughly with cool running water and let dry/pat dry.
For a little spice I went with an Anaheim pepper (because it was what I had around) , but feel free to use a spicier pepper if you would like.
In this recipe I used a combination of stir frying and then steaming in the sauce to cook the eggplant fairly quickly to a nice, soft, texture.
Then I threw in some tofu which was marinated and fried in large cubes, then cut into smaller bite sized cubes. It turned out really yummy! Still can’t get little miss to eat eggplant, but she ate the tofu and rice.
- ½ in Ginger
- 3 cloves Garlic
- 2 small eggplant or one large, cubed
- 1 hot pepper
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp mirin
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp sriracha or to taste
- 1 tbsp sugar/honey
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- Cube eggplant and place in a bowl. Sprinkle generously with salt. Allow to sit 20-30 mintues, then rinse with cool water and let dry.
- Finely chop ginger, garlic, and hot pepper.
- In a small bowl, mix together sauce ingredients and set aside.
- Heat canola or peanut oil in a wok. When shimmery, add garlic, ginger, and hot pepper and stir fry about 30 seconds. Then add eggplant. Stir fry for about 5 minutes, until starting to brown and get a glassy sheen. Pour sauce over everything and place a lid over the wok. Allow to steam for about 5 minutes or until eggplant is tender and easily pierced with a fork.
- Makes a great side dish. For a main dish, double the sauce recipe and add pre-prepared meat or tofu at the end of cooking time. Serve over rice.