The hardest part of moving out of Chicago is the distance from fantastic grocery stores. I used to swing by our favorite local Korean grocery store for snacks as a special treat to share with Z but that just isn’t possible any more. Now we have to make a special trip after ballet class to pick up our favorite treat – a marinated eggplant salad from the banchan bar. Yes, my kid goes crazy for marinated eggplant. She inhales the little container in the backseat on our way home from class. And no, I could not possibly be more proud. (A quick note – sesame oil will stain a ballet leotard..) But for mid-week cravings I need to make my own soy and garlic marinated eggplant.
I have tried to reproduce this recipe so many times with some success, but never exactly the way we get at The Boo, our nickname for Joong Boo Market. I think the key is to let the salad sit in the fridge for a few hours to let the flavors mingle. This is a lot harder than it sounds because the smell in mind-blowing. But it is totally worth the wait. I used average size Asian eggplants for this recipe but use 3 if yours look particularly skinny. The key is to have enough marinade to coat the eggplant but too much is not a problem.
If you love Korean food as much as I do, consider checking out Koreatown by Deuki Hong and Matt Rodbard. I adapted this recipe from the book and was inspired to try making it again after going through their key Korean ingredient list. Thanks to the book I learned that Korean soy sauce really makes a difference in this recipe, although standard everyday soy sauce will also work.
|Soy and Garlic Marinated Eggplant|| |
- 1 lb Asian eggplants - the long kind - 2 to 3 depending on the size
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon Kosher salt (I like Diamond brand Reduced Sodium)
- 2 cloves of garlic, pressed
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon soy sauce, preferably Korean
- gochujang to taste - I use about a ½ a teaspoon
- thinly sliced green onion for garnish
- Cut the eggplant into halves or quarters until they are about the length of your finger
- Slice each section in half and each half into thirds or quarters, depending on the thickness
- Toss eggplant with sugar and salt and allow to sit for 15 minutes
- Drain off the liquid in the bottom of the bowl and delicately press out any additional liquid
- Microwave for 3 minutes
- If eggplant isn't soft, microwave for an additional minute
- In a separate bowl, mix together garlic, sesame oil, sesame seeds, soy sauce and gochujang
- Drain any remaining liquid from the eggplant and toss with sauce
- Allow to cool and then refrigerate for at least 2 hours
- Garnish with green onion and serve at room temperature