Eggplants are in Season

Eggplant painting

The weather here in the Northwest has become cool and wet and I am sad to see the sun go. But, the fall vegetables bring a variety of change to the dinner table which is always enjoyable. The other day a very close childhood friend who lives in Oregon rang me up for an eggplant recipe and she even recalled it was a favorite of mine!

Just as the vegetable itself, the deep purple skin of the eggplant, or aubergine as my husband calls them, has always been one of my favorite colors. There’s something about the color, shape and texture that is so attractive and then to find such contrast when you slice one open is again, a wonderful surprise.

A simple way I often serve them is to just slice it thin and fry in oil, then dip with grated ginger and soy sauce. But, as we all know, eggplants have that ability to absorb oil, oil and more oil! Now in middle age, I find that I have to cut down on salt and fats. So, this is a light recipe using as little oil as possible, instead uses chicken stock to soften and cook, with added miso flavor for a kick .

In the market where I live there are basically 4 types of eggplant; the Japanese eggplant which are short, slim and dark are what I grew up eating, then there is the Chinese eggplant which is long and much lighter in color, the Indian eggplant looks like a small little purple ping pong ball and finally the European eggplant which is large, very round and thick but again darker in color.

I have used all the eggplants in various recipes and you can interchange them most of the time. But for stir-frying purposes, sticking with the Chinese and Japanese variety is the best bet. I used the Chinese one today, because that looked the most fresh!

Ben's Produce Eggplants photo from Ben’s Produce

Miso Eggplant

Miso Eggplant

Eggplant with Miso

Ingredients

  • 5 Japanese eggplants or 2 Chinese eggplants
  • ½ lb. ground pork
  • 1 clove garlic

Marinade

  • 2 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoon corn starch
  • 2 teaspoon sake

Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon miso
  • 2 tablespoon sake, Japanese rice wine
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • ½ tablespoon sugar
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • Chili oil or paste to taste

Method:

  • In bowl, place ground pork. Add marinade and mix well. Let sit for flavors to blend.
  • Mix all the sauce ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
  • Chop garlic
    Chop eggplant into strips
  • In frying pan, heat oil then add garlic and ground pork.
  • Cook meat until done then add a bit more oil and add the eggplant.
  • Add sauce, then add chicken stock.
  • Cover and let eggplant steam and cook in the liquid.
  • Once done add sesame oil and chili as desired.

Because we cooked the eggplant in chicken stock it is much lighter than a regular stir-fry. If the flavor is too mild to your liking just add more soy sauce.  Enjoy!

place lid on paneggplant with pork


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