Monday, June 6, 2011

Steamed Japanese Eggplant with Spicy Green Onion-Ginger Sauce

As I mentioned at the beginning of this month, summer cooking to me means letting fresh fruits and vegetables shine, with minimal interference.  This quick side dish fits the bill - Japanese eggplant, which are smaller and thinner than the Italian or "globe" varieties - get a quick steam and just a toss with other ingredients.

  • 12 ounces Japanese eggplant
  • 1/3 cup minced green onions
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon peeled and grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon chile paste with garlic
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves (optional for garnish)
1. Cut the eggplant into 3-inch long x 1/2-inch wide sticks.  Steam, covered, for 2 minutes.

2. Combine the green onions, soy sauce, rice vinegar, ginger, olive oil, and chile paste in a bowl, stirring well with a whisk.  Divide the eggplant sticks evenly among 4 plates, and drizzle evenly with the sauce.  Add the cilantro leaves as a pretty pop of color for garnish, if desired.

This side dish pairs really well with the breaded vegan fish fillets from Sophie's Kitchen, which I have just recently discovered.  You can find them online at vegan retailers such as and  Just add steamed edamame to round out the meal.  This dish is best served immediately.

Nutrition Info:
4 servings (1 cup eggplant sticks, 1 tablespoon sauce), Calories 45 

Tasting Notes:
When I pulled the eggplant from the steamer basket, I worried I ought to ignore the directions and cook longer - but one bite and I discovered that this dish was surprisingly, unexpectedly good.  The Japanese eggplant has a subtle, soft taste, and the sauce had just the right mix of bright and umami notes from the soy, ginger, and chile.  Overall, light and refreshing.


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