Eggplants are cut into rings, flash fried, cooled in ice, doused with dashi sauce and garnished with crispy bonito flakes. Great side dish or vegetarian main dish.
I’m currently deciphering Japanese cuisine. I knew a little about it before I visited Japan but I think I understand it a little better now. What used to be intimidating is much less so now that I have a more intimate knowledge of a wider range of Japanese ingredients.
That is the key, really. If you want Japanese flavors in your home meals, you need to cook dishes with Japanese ingredients. While meat, chicken and many vegetables used in Japanese cooking can in found in many parts of the world, you will need the correct seasonings, garnish, condiments and, sometimes, even the right cooking technique.
The fried fish flakes that went on top of the dish was from a pack I bought at the basement of Takashimaya in Osaka. I thought at first that it was some other kind of fish but, at this point, I am 99% sure that that was a pack of bonito flakes that I bought.
That’s the pack on the bottom right corner of the photo above. From what I’ve gathered, bonito flakes are sold coarse or fine. The fine flakes that are more easily obtainable outside Japan can be substituted without problems. The recipe that inspired mine used fine bonito flakes.
Japanese Fried Eggplants and Crispy Bonito Flakes with Dashi SaucePrint Pin
- Pour the dashi, mirin and soy sauce into a small sauce pan.
- Stir in the ginger.
- Bring to the boil.
- Turn off the heat.
- Place the sauce pan in a bowl of iced water to cool. Set aside.
- Heat the cooking oil in a wok or frying pan. The oil should be at least two inches deep.
- While the oil heats up, cut the eggplants into rings about an inch thick.
- When the oil starts to smoke, dump in the eggplants and cook over high heat just until softened but not mushy. Tip: the frying time should take about two minutes or less.
- Scoop out the eggplants and spread on a shallow bowl. Pour the cooled sauce directly over them.
- Fry the bonito flakes in the hot oil for about 10 seconds.
- Scoop out the bonito flakes and spread over the eggplants.
- Serve immediately.