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death and taxes and eggplant

Recipe: steamed eggplant with sesame and green onions

I’m so glad we’re not the only ones who took some time to warm up to our dog. I loved hearing about your own pets (and for some, even children!) via email or in the comments because it helped us realize that our experience was not out of the norm. Lately, instead of sticking her cold, wet nose in my face at 6 in the morning, Neva will wait until 6:30 or even 6:45 if it means she can curl up on the bed between us. We’ll take it! And she really is becoming quite the cuddler.

The weather for the past week has been sunny and unseasonably warm here in the mountains. A lot of my friends on the flats have been rejoicing in this “warm” weather, but it’s the “unseasonably” that makes me nervous. Sure, I want proper snow (blower powder, please), but the red flag warning for fire danger due to high winds and above average temperatures in February? No, thank you. That’s messed up. But you go with the flow and just pretend it’s Spring instead of Winter while quietly fretting over trends in global warming. We did get out several times to sample snow in the backcountry, at the resorts, and on the trails, only to be met with sketchy conditions. It made it that much easier for me to stay home all weekend working on taxes.

neva sunning herself on the deck

scooby snack in the high country

looking for snow in all the wrong places

brief sunrise colors

weekend activities: taxes (two favorite and most apropos erasers-turned-paperweights)

I am always on the prowl for eggplant recipes. I absolutely love eggplant. I grew up eating it Chinese-style, but discovered that I pretty much enjoy all manner of preparation of these oddly spongy vegetables. When I first flipped through my copy of Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty More, I placed little sticky tabs on each recipe of interest. There were a lot, but the one that I wanted to eat immediately was the steamed eggplant with sesame and green onion. It’s meaty without being heavy or oily, and the Japanese flavors are clean and bright.

eggplant, sesame seeds (black and white), sesame oil, maple syrup, salt, mirin, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, green onions

peel the eggplant

steam for 30 minutes

mince the ginger and crush the garlic

The recipe is more of a technique because steaming the eggplant preserves the firm texture rather than rendering it mush like so many other ways of cooking eggplant. It actually feels like you are eating a vegetable! So if you are someone who detests eggplant texture, don’t be too quick to dismiss this version of preparation. You just might like it.

the dressing ingredients, prepped

mix them all together

slice the green onions

Once the eggplants have steamed, let them cool and drain. When the eggplants are cool enough to handle, peel them apart in strips the size of wide noodles and drain off any additional liquid. The strips are tossed with the dressing, green onions, and sesame seeds and allowed to marinate for ten minutes before serving. Simple.

steamed eggplants

peel apart in strips

add dressing

mix the dressing with the eggplant

toss with sesame seeds and green onions

You can treat this recipe as a main or a side or a salad. I like it on steamed rice with something else – in this case, tofu – for a nice vegetarian meal. It is also lovely served alongside meat dishes. The eggplant keeps well as leftovers for a cold salad lunch the next day, if you have any left!

serve at room temperature

simple preparation

eggplant and tofu on rice

Steamed Eggplant with Sesame and Green Onion
[print recipe]
from Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi

2 medium eggplants, (totaling about 1.5 lbs.), topped and peeled
5 stalks green onions, thin diagonal slice
1 tbsp black and white sesame seeds, toasted

2 1/2 tsps mirin
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 1/2 tbsps soy sauce
2 1/2 tsps rice vinegar
1 1/2 tsps maple syrup
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsps fresh ginger, minced
1 clove garlic, crushed

Fill a large pot (large enough to fit your steamer) 1/4 full of water over high heat. Bring the water to a boil. Set the steamer in the pot, making sure it isn’t touching the water. Use a stand to keep the steamer out of the water if necessary. Place the eggplants in the steamer. Cover tightly with the lid and steam for 30 minutes, turning the eggplants over once halfway through the cooking time. Remove the steamer basket from the pot and allow the eggplants to cool and drain. Shred the eggplants by hand into long thin strips (about 1/4-inch wide) into a colander and let drain for another 20 minutes.

Mix the mirin, sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar, maple syrup, and salt together in a small bowl. Stir the ginger and garlic into the dressing and set aside. Place the eggplant strips in a large bowl and gently toss with the dressing. Add the green onions and sesame seeds. Toss to mix. Let sit for 10 minutes, then serve. Serves 4.

more goodness from the use real butter archives

fish-flavored eggplant vietnamese braised eggplant baingan bharta (indian mashed eggplant) eggplant fries

11 nibbles at “death and taxes and eggplant”

  1. Annie says:

    Thanks for sharing this! It looks like a unique take on eggplant, and I’ll definitely be trying it out soon. I was wondering what the tofu on the side is. It looks like a firm or braised tofu in a spicy sauce?

  2. Bette says:

    I make an almost identical recipe but the eggplant is cubed and steamed (in that order). The “peeling into strips” part is intriguing — did it really work as described? Or was it difficult?

  3. debbie says:

    The eggplant and tofu both look delicious. Can you also give us the tofu recipe? I definitely would try both together also.

  4. Katie says:

    Yes…the warm weather is not such a happy thing. I woke up the wild winds this morning and couldn’t get back to sleep wondering about the fires that started down here (Longmont area) yesterday and if they were contained enough not to spread too terribly again this morning. I wonder how we will be able to start to have conversations about global warming in real time and real life. Even my friends who “think it’s real” still feel uncomfortable talking either policy or personal changes. I started the book What We Think About When We Try Not To Think About Global Warming and think it has some good next steps on this. I didn’t end up finishing it because I’m a million months pregnant and had to put the bad news out of my mind for a while. But I look forward to coming back to it and hopefully getting some next steps to get regular people engaged and involved in the ways we need.

  5. Jean Ann says:

    I love eggplant and will try this. I love your last photo too. Beautiful bowl, chopsticks, etc. I live on the front range and try to keep from worrying about what looks like a permanent change in our climate. I remind myself that California thought their drought was forever and thus ignored taking care of dams when water was low. It can turn on a dime.

  6. Sharla Derry says:

    I love your blog, your photography and your thoughts. I just wanted to pop in and give you props since I rarely do…but you deserve them every post! Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us. Every single recipe I have made of yours (and there’s been a lot I’ve made) has turned out spot on.

  7. jenyu says:

    Annie – Ah, I probably should have added a link. It’s the sesame tofu recipe without coating the tofu in cornstarch (I just seared it til crisp and tossed it with sauce).

    Bette – That sounds good, too! It peels easily :)

    debbie – The tofu is this recipe: without coating the tofu in cornstarch (just seared in a little oil and tossed with sauce).

    Katie – I don’t have issues discussing global warming (even the words climate change were coined by “skeptics” who wanted to de-fang the term global warming). I studied climate dynamics as a minor for my graduate degree and many of my earth science colleagues are field researchers on the carbon cycle, polar regions, and climate. I think a key way to get people involved is to improve science literacy and have scientists be better communicators. But I also think the common citizen needs to take responsibility and read up (as you are doing) on factual information. xo

    Jean Ann – Yes, the problem with Global Warming is that volatility and erratic swings will become more frequent. So for those folks who point to a snowy winter as “evidence” against global warming don’t understand that the overall trend is toward a warmer climate – and at a rate that is far faster than we’ve documented in the past. So one season we may get terrible wild fires on the Front Range and then the following year we get flooded with heavy rains – these are some of those wild fluctuations, and they’re happening more and more often. You’re absolutely right that it can turn on a dime.

    Sharla Derry – Thank you!!

  8. Jan says:

    What a novel way to strip eggplant! I am thrilled to have this recipe!!!! We love eggplant when it is in season, but I always have a hard time finding a new way to use it. Thank you so much for the recipe!

  9. jenyu says:

    Jan – You’re welcome! :)

  10. Jorge says:

    Perhaps is my age (70´s) and my knowledge of computers is limited but I cannot figure out how to copy and paste your recipes so that I can keep them on a file for future cooking. You have unique and intriguing recipes and love your step by step approach.
    Many Thanks !!!

  11. jenyu says:

    Jorge – Hi there! No worries. If you scroll down to the bottom of the post where the recipe is, there is a small [print recipe] link beneath the title of the recipe that you can click. That will load the PDF version of the recipe, which you can save to your computer by clicking on the little page icon with an arrow on it (the arrow is pointing down). The icon should be in the upper right of your browser frame – and it’s tiny, so hover your mouse over it without clicking and a little tag should appear that says “download” when you have the right one. Hope that helps! xo -jen

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