Monday, September 15, 2008

Eggplant for Haters

Magpie Musing and I recently talked about eggplants. She does not like them, and until this summer, neither did I.  Actually, I am still not crazy about eggplants, but I do have one recipe that I enjoy enough to pass it on to her (and to you).  My anti-eggplant/pro-this recipe declaration feels a little like a racist who declares he doesn't like people of such-and-so race, except for that one friend of his who happens to be of that race. Except where racism is just dumb, anti-eggplant bias is totally understandable. So without further ado I present:  

The Eggplant Recipe For People Who Don't Like Eggplant
  • 2 Chinese Eggplant  I can only vouch for this recipe if you use skinny asian eggplants. If you use globe (american) eggplant, I think it will be like any other recipe made with globe eggplant, which is to say: sucky.
  • Canola oil
  • about 1/2 cup Chinese rice wine
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup broth 
  • Sesame seeds
  • Soy sauce
  • Honey or brown sugar
  • Dark sesame oil
  • Scallions, chopped (I use the whites and some of the greens)
  • Salt
Slice the eggplants in half lengthwise. Fry the eggplant halves in canola oil (open side down) until they are a bit browned. (don't expect the eggplants to be cooked at this point)

Add the 1/2 cup rice wine and 1/2-2/3 cup broth.  The eggplants should be mostly covered. Cover and simmer until the eggplants are pretty soft when poked with a fork.

Toast the sesame seeds in a dry skillet.  Scootch them around with a spoon to keep from burning.

Heat up a little water (maybe a 1/4 cup) and melt the honey or brown sugar. Make a sauce of soy, honey or brown sugar, sesame oil, chopped scallions, and toasted sesame seeds.

When eggplant is soft, cut halves into pieces, then add to sauce.  Add salt if needed (though I think the soy sauce is salty enough).

Note: Don't come to me all up in arms, yelling "how can you discount eggplant parmesan?" Eggplant parm is something I can eat, but choose not to because really, wouldn't it be better without the eggplant?


  1. I am a hater, but the honey and soy sauce has me intrigued. I'm making an effort to be a person who eats fruits and vegetables, so what the hell (what is an eggplant anyway)? I'll give the eggplant a shot.

  2. I am an avowed eggplant hater -- just the thought of eggplant texture makes me squirm. I can't even do eggplant parmesan. Other than the eggplant, your recipe sounds yummy!

  3. Can I mention that you should always "sweat" an eggplant before cooking it. Just slice the eggplant then sprinkle some salt over it and let it rest for 30 - 60 minutes. This helps to get rid of the bitterness that eggplant can have.

    BTW, I LOVE eggplant! :+) Especially eggplant parm.

  4. My mom used to boil eggplant. And then make us eat it. It was just exactly like eating a slug, and no amount of ketchup (or the good recipes of others) can ever change that association for me.

  5. I knew this would be a black and white issue for people. (purple and grey?) Bring on the anonymous "you suck because you insulted eggplant" commenters.

    (not you rebecca, you were very polite. you can have my serving off eggplant parm!)

  6. Oh, thanks. That looks intriguing, all that Asian-y seasoning.

    Usually I just disguise it in a ratatouille like stew, but it's still eggplant, you know?

  7. I am merely an eggplant avoider. My favorite recipe is actually my own vegetarian Moussaka recipe made with Buckwheat groats, it is fantastic, if I do say so myself.

    And, a few years back when I drank all together too much beer and was occasionally too baked whilst cooking I discovered the joys of charred eggplant. Seriously. A bit too long on the BBQ but almost out of groceries you still eat it. Delicious Mo-wo's blackened eggplant with roasted garlic, spread on a nice baguette slice and dip in tzatziki. delish.

  8. For Danforth8/27/2009 11:40 AM

    Thanks to all for these great tips and the recipe to boot! I have a friend who is an avowed eggplant hater whose name I will not mention. Just the sight or mention of eggplant throws him in a tizzy, sometimes violent even. I am going to direct him to this webpage in hopes of him having a change of heart. What can it hurt? Might save him years of veggie therapy.