Japanese Eggplant in Garlic Sauce

6 Sep

As promised (nay, verily as threatened), here is the only other recipe I can consistently make with the promise that it will not cause a rush on the nearest hospital:

  • Olive Oil
  • Minced Fresh Ginger (or Powdered if desperate) (good sized chunk or 2 teaspoons)
  • 2-3 Crushed, Chopped, Minced or Otherwise Mutilated Fresh Garlic Cloves
  • Japanese Eggplant*, cut lengthwise like carrot sticks
  • One Sweet Red Pepper, cut julienne
  • Ground Beef
  • Scallions, cut in 2 inch pieces
  • Sugar (or sugar substitute)
  • Soy Sauce

*Regular eggplant will not work in this recipe because it tastes nasty unless it has been breaded and cooked with loads of cheese and tomato sauce, and even then it tastes bitter; Japanese eggplant is nothing like those hideous, giant purple footballs used in Italian cooking, so don’t even consider trying it. And unlike those big Italian eggplants, the skin on Japanese is thin and edible, not tough and chewy, so do NOT peel Japanese eggplant. However, Japanese eggplant doesn’t keep very long, so make this dish as soon as possible after buying your Japanese eggplant.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add enough olive oil (or your preferred oil) to keep stuff from sticking. I use a lot of oil because I cook with stainless steel and I don’t like anything to be dried out (plus I don’t care about tons of oil because there are no simple carbs in this dish if you don’t add rice). The eggplant will soak up a LOT of oil, so you may have to add more oil as you go along.

Add the ginger (but only if fresh) and garlic and sauté for about one minute. Add the eggplant (how much eggplant? how much did they have and how much could you afford? Japanese eggplant are generally very small and thin, so you may need quite a few; if they are the size shown above, I’d pop for about 8, cut them in half and then cut each half lengthwise into four pieces) and the red pepper. Cook until the inside of the eggplant pieces become translucent. Using a slotted spoon or spatula, remove to a plate.

Add the ground beef (how much beef? how many people are you trying to feed or how much leftovers do you want? I usually use about a pound) to the skillet. Cook the ground beef until well browned. At this point, if you are going to use ground ginger, sprinkle it over the browned beef. If there seems to be a HUGE excess of oil at this point, drain a little off, but not too much because otherwise you’ll have to add some broth or (yuk) water to make the sauce and you won’t have very good flavor.

Reduce the heat to low and put the eggplant and red pepper back into the skillet with the beef. Then throw in the scallions (how many scallions? how well do you like scallions? I love scallions so I use the whole bunch). Mix well and sprinkle some sugar over the mess; then start adding soy sauce to taste (I’d say I generally put in somewhere between ¼ to ½ cup, but I never measure anything, just makes more stuff I have to wash; and if you think I hate cooking, I hate cleaning up even more). The scallions should just be wilted, not cooked to death, the peppers should still have some bite, and the eggplant should melt in your mouth.

I just eat this out of a bowl, but you could serve it over rice if you have the energy to make rice, which I never do (plus I never mix simple carbs with proteins on the general principal that my body will burn up the simple carbs first and store all those complex proteins as the fat they are and I already have enough stored fat, thank you very much).

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