Many people I’ve talked to about food seemed to have strong opinions about eggplants. Most of them either love it or hate it. It’s quite interesting how a fruit/vegetable could arouse such strong feelings.
I happen to like eggplant very much. One of my favorite recipes is Spicy Eggplant. I love the soft and meaty texture of eggplant once it is cooked. The mild flavor makes it ideal to be a blank canvas in cooking too. So combining it with spices, chilies and either shrimp, beef, tempeh, or even tofu, could easily transform this purple beauty to be a fantastic meal. I must admit, though, that in the past I have tasted badly cooked eggplant, but I forgave, moved on, and said, “Maybe it wasn’t the eggplant, but the way it was cooked.” I’ve learned that with certain vegetables, many times, they could be even more appetizing and desirable when they get cooked and seasoned the right way.
Anyway, the other day I happened to be talking to a friend who is a vegetarian. She mentioned that she loved grilled veggies. For some reason I immediately thought about grilled eggplants (and mushrooms). By chance, minutes after the conversation, I saw 12 Recipes for Grilled Eggplant from the NYTimes. Check out the different countries’ styles!
I tried the Chinese Style with a little tweak of my own:
In a bowl, I mixed a tablespoon of sesame oil, one tablespoons of soy sauce, one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (I didn’t have the rice vinegar that the recipe called for), four tablespoons of oyster sauce (the recipe called for Hoisin sauce that I didn’t have), a dash of cayenne pepper powder, a dash of ginger powder, and two chopped garlic. Then I cut up one long eggplant (I am sure the big eggplant we normally see in many grocery stores work well too for this recipe) and marinated them in the sauce for 5-10 minutes.
Then I placed an aluminum foil that I have greased lightly with olive oil on the grill, fired the grill up, and cook the eggplants for 5 minutes on each side. (I could also grill them on the stove top using a nonstick cookware coated with a tiny bit of oil.) The result? Mmm…super tasty and meaty eggplant dish! It’s got a lot of wonderful flavors going on: savory, spicy, and a bit of smokiness too. Jeff and I liked it very much. I served them along with fried tofu and rice. Another yummy meatless menu!
Here are the pictures. They came out blurry, sorry! I think I was too excited to try this recipe.