Thursday, August 6, 2015

Korean Eggplant Side Dish | Gaji Namul (가지나물)

Eggplant namul reminds me of my childhood, but it doesn't conjure up great memories. I used to seriously hate this stuff. I think it's because my mom steamed the eggplants and it gave them such a mushy texture and I am really picky when it comes to the texture of my food. If someone gives me the most delicious mango in the world but it's stringy, I cannot eat it. I have a hard time eating okra because it's too gooey. If an apple is anything less than perfectly crunchy, I have to pass.

I've since updated my mom's recipe for eggplant namul because I love the flavors of the side dish. But instead of steaming the eggplant, I roast it, which gives it incredible flavor and most importantly, gives it a bearable texture. And the best part is, if it's too hot out to turn on the oven, you can pop the sheet pan right onto the grill.
Ingredients:
roasted eggplant
3 to 4 baby eggplants
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil

seasonings
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 scallions, chopped
3 tablespoons hot pepper flakes (gochugaru)
2 teaspoons sesame seeds
½ teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons soy sauce

Start by cutting the eggplant into long strips. I love baby eggplant because it's a bit more tender and the seeds are small.
Place the eggplant onto a piece of foil or sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil and sesame oil and toss to coat. Eggplant is super sponge-like and will soak up the oil so toss quickly. Then, pop onto a medium hot grill or into a 400F oven for 15 minutes or until the pieces are tender.
In a bowl, combine all of the seasonings and stir together.
Toss the eggplant in the seasoning. And seriously, that's the end of the recipe. If you're keen on presentation, scoop the eggplant into a pretty bowl and serve.
Sorry, Ma, but my eggplant is so much better than yours! The eggplant is soft without being stringy or overly mushy and the spicy seasoning is delicious. This is so good with a bowl of rice, just on its own.
Here's the recipe page:

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