Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Simple Chinese Eggplant

Years ago when I was just learning to cook, I came home from college and grandly announced that I would be making dinner. I then quizzed everyone about their preferences and set off to the store, considering and rejecting numerous possibilities before I settled on Eggplant Parmesan. I got home and was just laying out ingredients when Katelyn came upstairs, took one look, and said "What are you doing? The ONLY thing I asked you not to cook was eggplant!"


Anyway, fast forward a few years. Katelyn has happily learned to enjoy eggplant, and I thought I'd welcome her back to cold weather with a nice Chinese hotpot - always good for emptying out the veggie drawer.

Begin by peeling and cubing a large eggplant. Salt it heavily to draw out the liquid, and let it drain for about an hour in a colander so the water can escape. Then rinse off the salt and squeeze and pat dry. I added carrot strips, asparagus, and kale, but nearly any veggies could play a supporting role here.

Mix up the following in a glass bowl - I didn't measure anything so just taste:
Sesame oil
Soy sauce
Vinegar (I had some white vinegar flavored with lemongrass)

Toss the veggies and sauce in a covered corningware dish - I wanted to use my clay pot, but it's only big enough for one portion - with a generous portion of sesame seeds and some sliced canned lemongrass if you've got it. Bake at 400 degrees for 1/2 hour to an hour, until eggplant is soft and silky. Serve over a nutty red or brown rice.

(I'm hoping I've redeemed myself for the Eggplant Parmesan...)

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