I’ve probably made this eggplant recipe four times or five times over the last few weeks, I’m slightly addicted. I don’t really like eggplant, but I have a weakness for Japanese eggplants, especially when I see really beautiful and majestic-looking ones at the store or farmers’ market. There is something otherworldly about their incredible hue of purple that makes them stand out so vibrantly against other vegetables. Unlike the more commonly found eggplant that is quite large and bulbous, Japanese eggplants are long and slender, which means that they don’t have as many seeds as the traditional eggplant. Less seeds equals less sogginess when you cook them, so Japanese eggplant are great for grilling and not having them turn into total mush.
This recipe for Japanese Eggplant with Pimento-Scallion Glaze is from Debbie Lee’s Seoultown Kitchen cookbook that we got for Christmas. Along with David Chang’s Momofuku cookbook, this collection of recipes has been in the greatest rotation in our kitchen lately. The original recipe calls for you to add tofu to these skewers, but I think there is no need to add an extra step or ingredient to what is a really easy and fast Asian-style vegetable dish. Plus the glaze is so tasty, you might want to try it on an accompanying piece of grilled fish or meat for a quick weeknight dinner.
Japanese Eggplant with Pimento-Scallion Glaze, adapted from Seoultown Kitchen
2 Japanese eggplants, cut into thin rounds of equal width
1/4 cup red chile bean paste (gochujang) or chili-garlic sauce
3 tablespoons seasoned rice wine vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons mirin
3 tablespoons white sugar
4 cloves garlic
1/4 cup chopped scallions, plus some extra to garnish
1/4 cup sesame oil
In a food processor, combine all the ingredients (minus the eggplant) and blend well to make the glaze. Put the eggplant rounds on metal skewers. Grill the skewers on a preheated grill or in a grill pan on the stove. Brush the glaze over the eggplant immediately and cook for 2 minutes. Turn over the eggplant and brush the other side with the glaze, cook for another 2 minutes. Repeat this process on both sides again until the eggplant is cooked. Remove the eggplant from the skewers and serve immediately with a garnish of chopped scallions using the green bits. You can drizzle any leftover glaze on top for an even bolder flavour.