Korean Cooking: A Sesame Eggplant Side Dish (가지무침)
I like that I can go to the farmer’s market in Korea and know exactly what is in season. So many grocery stores in the US are rather misleading. Of course I learned when fruit and vegetables grew, but when you can get bananas and oranges and apples and other fresh goods year round, it can end up being quite confusing to a child. Of course, now as the one paying year round I have come to realize that though available, the prices certainly vary from season to season. It wasn’t until I came to Korea that I really started savoring fruit and vegetables because you really can only get some of them once a year. I look forward to strawberry season and the apple harvest, tomatoes that are big and juicy and cucumbers at low prices. I’ve come to notice how the rains affect the veggies and how good they are and how cheap things are when they are actually in season. This week I headed to the market and could tell as I walked up that eggplant was the vegetable to grab. Six for one dollar!
I scooped them up and headed home only to realize I didn’t actually know too many eggplant recipes. The only thing I’d eaten growing up with eggplant was eggplant parmesan and though that’s delicious, I didn’t want to eat it every night for a week. To continue my adventure into Korean cooking, I decided to try an eggplant side dish.
2 Cloves of Garlic, minced
2 1/2 Tbs. Soy Sauce
1/2 Tbs. Sesame Seeds
1/2 Tbs. Sesame Oil
1 Tsp. Hot Pepper Flakes
1. Cut the eggplants in two or three pieces and then slice each piece in half and put into a microwavable container.
3. Remove from the microwave and slice the halves in half once more to make eating easier.
4. Place in a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Measurements don’t have to be exact. More hot flakes if you want it spicier, more soy sauce if you want it saltier or more sesame seeds if you like sesame.
5. Mix and serve. It can be served immediately and warm or store in the fridge and it can be served chilled. Should be eaten within 24 hours though.