Sunday, 21 April 2013

Grilled Eggplant Salad with Spicy Hoisin Glaze

I'm always looking for new recipes to do with eggplant, but I can never find what I'm looking for. Boo hoo. Poor me. What ends up happening is I play around with the ingredients in the house until I come up with something (hopefully) awesome! This recipe is really simple to put together and is full of flavour! It was a hit this at this past Shabbat table, and it's a great addition to any salad spread!

Grilled Eggplant Salad with Spicy Hoisin Glaze:

1 large eggplant, trimmed at the ends
2-3 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tsp chili-garlic sauce (or chili flakes+garlic powder if you don't have)
1-2 tbsp soy sauce
2-3 tbsp rice vinegar
1-2 tbsp honey
1 tsp sesame oil
splash water
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp green onions, sliced diagonally (optional)

Preheat oven to 400°.
Slice eggplant thinly lengthwise. Sprinkle salt over eggplant, let sit for 15 minutes until it starts to 'sweat.' I know, its gross: beads of eggplanty liquid start to come to the surface. Apparently, salting gets rid of the eggplant's bitterness. If you are able to use Japanese eggplant which is the long purple ones, apparently they aren't as bitter so you can skip this part. Anyways, once it gets all sweaty, rinse and dry the eggplant slices off. Pour olive oil in the bottom of a 9x13 pan and spread it around so the bottom is greased well.

In a medium bowl, mix the hoisin, chili-garlic sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey and sesame oil. Add a splash of water, and taste to see if it is to your liking. The good thing about Asian cooking is if you overpower your sauce with something, there's always another sauce to balance it out. It takes a lot of playing around to get it 'perfect,' so don't give up! It should be a pretty thick sauce, more like a glaze/bbq sauce you would use for basting. Place your eggplant slices in the pan in a single layer.  Stick the eggplant in the oven for 5-10 minutes until it is soft and starting to brown. Flip the pieces over, and put it back in the oven. When it is just about ready, take the pieces of eggplant and put them in the bowl with the sauce. Toss to coat with two forks, and then put back in the pan, and into the oven for 1-2 more minutes for it to finish cooking. Take out of the oven and slice into thin strips or chunks. Put into a serving bowl, and sprinkle with sesame seeds, and if you're feeling adventurous, sliced green onions too. Pretty! Sorry, no picture this time, you're going to have to use your imagination and try it yourself!!!

These would also be pretty fantastic if you made a bit extra sauce (and added more vinegar and soy sauce to make it thinner) and tossed it with noodles! Or on top of quinoa... Yum! You could probably use this sauce for chicken or tofu too! 

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