Deep-fried eggplant simmered in sweet dashi stock makes for a savory summer dish.
“The joy of cooking vegetables lies in creating your own taste using stock and seasoning,” says Kimio Tomura, owner of a Japanese restaurant.
Eggplant comes in different varieties and Tomura suggests choosing the “senryo” type that is not too long. The quantity of stock and seasoning are listed in ratio. The amount should be changed according to the size of eggplant or pot. Serves four.
Piece of ginger (half the size of thumb)
1.5-2 liters bonito and konbu (dried kelp) stock (enough to completely cover eggplant in pot)
Seasoning (50 cc soy sauce and 100 grams sugar per liter of stock)
Remove stalk end from eggplant. Make a few slits (1-2 mm wide) lengthwise all the way round eggplant. Have hot water ready.
Fry eggplant in oil heated to 160 degrees. Fry in two batches. Maintain medium heat that sets off small bubbles. Occasionally roll eggplant. Hold firmly with chopsticks and if it dents, it is done. Frying time is usually 6-10 minutes.
Place fried eggplant on metal sieve; pour hot water in circular motion.
Bring stock, sugar and soy sauce to a boil. Add eggplant, cover with lid that goes deep inside the pot, simmer for 10-15 minutes. Lay in container, cover completely with cooking liquid. Place in fridge when cool.
It is ready to eat from the next day. Heat appropriate amount with cooking liquid, serve and place grated ginger on top. It also tastes good cold.
To make bonito and kelp stock, have 15 grams kelp, 80 grams dried bonito shavings, 2 liters water ready. Immerse kelp in water for more than 2 hours. Place over medium heat. Remove kelp when water starts to boil. Let it boil once, turn off heat, add bonito shavings. When shavings sink, strain through sieve lined with cloth.
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From The Asahi Shimbun's Kashikoi Okazu column
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