20 July 2010

asian eggplants for summer hire

summer is most definitely not my favourite seasons of the year -- it's hot, it's humid, and there's half-dressed people almost everywhere.

fortunately, summer lasts only 2 months here, so the wardrobe indecency only seemingly lasts as long. this also means the eggplant season is relatively short, but long enough to produce abundant crops ready early or mid-august*.

as with most chinese foods, there are a gazillamillion overly ornamental names for eggplants (茄 ("keh"), 茄子 ("keh-tsi"), and 矮瓜 ("ngai-kua", or "short melons"), as us new world ch-nks — i shouldn't probably use that word even though I'M ALLOWED TO — call them) and eggplant dishes.

this one i'm calling fragrant third chinese lady president hand-handled sesame eggplant beauty cold dish. i don't even know if chinese people make this but i don't really care cause it tastes good.

sesame eggplant salad
not sure how many people this serves
1 large eggplant (~1.25lb/560g), or 2-3 chinese eggplants
1.5 Tbs (~25 ml) sesame seeds
1.5 Tb (~25 ml) sesame oil
1 tsp (5 ml) garlic, minced
1 tsp (5 ml) ginger, finely chopped
1 Tb (15 ml) light soy sauce
1 Tb (15 ml) vinegar (preferably black, but any will do)
1/4 to 1/2 tsp (1.5 to 2.5 ml) salt
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) sugar
2 stalks green onions or chives, finely chopped
  1. using a fork, pierce eggplant all over. bake or roast it in a 400F oven until soft (~1 regular eggplant, ~45 min for smaller eggplants). let it cool until easy to handle.
  2. remove skin from eggplant and discard.
  3. shred the eggplant flesh and season with salt. at this point, you can cover the eggplant and chill it for up to 2 days until ready to use.
  4. in a frying pan, toast the sesame seeds over low heat until fragrant and golden. add the garlic and ginger and stir until warm (don't cook it, just warm it). remove from heat and let it cool.
  5. in a small bowl, combine soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar. add sesame/ginger/garlic mixture. 
  6. combine sesame dressing into the shredded eggplant. 
  7. serve cold-ish, topped with green onions, as a goopy salad or a topping for bread or crackers!
*eggplants take at least 65 days to mature and need a lot of sun, which doesn't bode well for eggplants grown in basements.

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