To cook soy garlic eggplants, Asian eggplants are sliced and briefly fried. The soy garlic sauce is boiled for a minute and poured over the cooked eggplants. Prep time is around seven minutes; total cook time is less than five minutes. And we finished the eggplants in something like five minutes.
I had to cook another batch for Sam who came home late on the night we had these soy garlic eggplants for our appetizer. Unexpectedly more delicious than I imagined.
Why is the cooking time so short? Because in very hot oil, eggplants only take about a minute to cook. Cook them longer and they turn mushy. Truth be told, it took longer to heat the oil.
Right after frying the eggplants, I immediately spread them on a cold plate to stop them from cooking in the residual heat. When they reached room temperature, I transferred them to a serving bowl and made the sauce and garnish.
I poured out the oil from the wok and boiled a mixture of soy sauce, mirin, garlic paste and sugar. I could have skipped the cooking part but I wanted the richness of the mirin without the alcoholic smell and aftertaste.
After that, it was all a matter of assembly. The sauce was drizzled directly over the eggplants, toasted sesame seeds were sprinkled in quite liberally and, finally, finely sliced scallions.
Soy Garlic Eggplants
Cut off the tops of the eggplants and discard. Split each eggplant vertically into halves then cut each half into half inch slices.
Heat enough cooking oil in a frying pan to reach a depth of at least two inches.
When fine wisps of smoke appear on the surface of the oil, dump in all the eggplants.
Cook the eggplants for about one minute then scoop out with a kitchen spider and spread on a plate lined with paper towels.
Pour out the oil from the pan (of course you may reuse it).
Pour the soy sauce and mirin into the pan. Stir in the garlic paste and sugar. Heat and bring to the boil. Over medium-low heat, boil uncovered for a minute.
Transfer the eggplants to a shallow bowl. Pour the sauce over them. Sprinkle in the toasted sesame seeds and top with sliced scallions.
Serve the soy garlic eggplants at room temperature as an appetizer or a side dish.