Strange Flavor Eggplant
Serves: 4 as an entrée, 8 as an appetizer
This simple recipe is a great candidate for a make-ahead dish. I have served it straight out of the refrigerator as an appetizer with some nice grilled slices of a hearty wheat baguette. Or you could serve it warm as a main course with cooked white or brown rice. Even though the original recipe calls for pureed cooked eggplant, I stick to a rough chop because I like its texture.
- 1 large eggplant (about 1 to 1 1/2 pounds) Add to list
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil Add to list
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce Add to list
- 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar Add to list
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar Add to list
- 1 tablespoon hot water Add to list
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil, divided Add to list
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger Add to list
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic Add to list
- 1/4 cup chopped green onion Add to list
- 1 teaspoon chopped serrano or jalapeno pepper (remove seeds for milder taste) Add to list
- 1/2 cup crumbled firm tofu Add to list
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro Add to list
- 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds Add to list
Preheat oven to 375° F. Rub the eggplant with the vegetable oil, wrap with aluminum foil and place on a baking tray. Bake until a knife easily pokes through the center, about 30 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven, unwrap foil and let cool atop the foil for about 15 minutes.
Slit the cooled eggplant lengthwise into two halves and use a spoon to scoop out the cooked eggplant, avoiding the skin. The skin, though edible, will take away from the silky texture of the cooked flesh. Roughly chop the scooped eggplant and set aside.
Combine the soy sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar and water in a small bowl. Heat a large wok or skillet over medium heat, add half the sesame oil and cook the ginger, garlic, green onion and pepper until they are fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add the soy sauce mixture to the pan and cook for an extra 30 seconds. Add chopped eggplant and crumbled tofu to the pan and stir well until heated.
Ladle into serving bowls. Garnish with cilantro, remaining sesame oil and sesame seeds.
Recipe by, PCC Cooks instructor
Source: Recipe adapted from Barbara Tropp’s “China Moon Cookbook”