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Eggplant in “Spicy” Sauce

I was flipping through my copy of Everyday Harumi when I came across this recipe which is described as one of the author’s top three favorite recipes. Well, the author, Kurihara Harumi, has published over 100 books, has over 50 kitchen supply stores and 12 restaurants in Japan, so I thought I would take her opinion to heart and give this recipe a whirl.

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WOW. That is all I have to say. I was expecting good results, but I had no idea it would be this delicious! I would encourage everyone to try this recipe!

I really would like to write this recipe a love song, so today’s song-of-the-recipe is “내 사랑아” by “이종현, or”My Love” by Lee JongHyun.

As for the recipe, I ended up doubling the amount of ginger and reducing the amount of sauce, so I would encourage everyone to adjust the level of each of those flavors to your own personal liking.

To start off, the eggplant is chopped and soaked in cold water to remove the bitterness before being fried.

 

 

I used Grapeseed oil to do my frying, mostly because that is what I had on hand. However, over the years I have learned a lot about the health benefits of grape seed oil and I use it when I can in the kitchen.

The recipe uses a bunch of fresh ingredients, such as leek, ginger, garlic and chili pepper. All of these are finely chopped and added to the fried eggplant.

 

 

The dish is finished off with more slices of leek over the top.

 

Eggplant in Spicy Sauce

3 baby eggplant
3 T soy sauce
3 T mirin
2 T rice vingar
vegetable or grapeseed oil for frying
4 T finely minced leeks
1 tsp finely minced garlic
1 T finely minced ginger
1 red chili, seeds removed, finely minced
sliced leeks for garnish

Directions:
1) Cut the eggplant into half inch rounds, then quarter. Place the cut segments into a bowl of cold water and soak for 10 minutes. Remove from the water and pat dry.
2) Combine soy sauce, mirin, and vinegar to make a sauce and set aside.
3) In a skillet, heat enough oil to nearly cover one layer of eggplant. When hot, add half or all the eggplant pieces, depending on how large the skillet is, and fry at medium-high heat until soft in the middle and brown on the bottom.
4) Remove the eggplant from the skillet and drain on paper towel.
5) Place the drained eggplant in a bowl, pour over the sauce and stir to combine.
6) Add the leeks, garlic, ginger and chili and stir to combine—gently enough that the eggplant stays intact.
7) Put the eggplant into the serving dish and garnish with leeks. (can be served warm or at room temperature)

My Thoughts:
• The flavor is excellent, and while I wouldn’t say it is “spicy” as in hot, it is full of various spices, and if you added more of a hot pepper, it would be “spicy.” The texture of the eggplant is soft but not mushy, and with all the fresh produce it tastes refreshing even though it was fried. I will definitely be making this again!
• The longer the eggplant sits, more oil seems to come out of it, which I think it natural.
• Maybe it is because I am not familiar enough with Japanese cuisine, but the flavors seem to be more Chinese or maybe Thai influence—not that I am complaining though, whatever it is, I love it.

Result: 4.75/5

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