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Cathy Katin-Grazzini

Cathy's Kitchen Prescription LLC

www.cathyskitchenprescription.com

 

Glazed Eggplants with Mushrooms

 

Chinese and Japanese eggplant varieties have thinner skins and fewer seeds than their European relatives. They cook up sweeter and creamier and absorb flavors from seasonings beautifully. In this dish, we cook shiitake and oyster mushrooms in water until tender. The eggplant then simmers in the flavorful woodsy mushroom liquor and becomes meltingly soft and flavorful. Next we quickly sauté them both with aromatics and finish the dish with a Chinese-inspired glaze. This dish is a special side dish, or even an entrée when served with a whole grain or whole noodles. Delightfully digestible, this satisfying, very climate-supportive dish is packed with fiber, minerals, and protective antioxidant polyphenols.

 

Prep 15 minutes

Cook 35 minutes

Serves 4 to 6

 

2 cups no-sodium vegetable broth, heated

2 tablespoons date paste from ½ cup dates, any variety

A pinch of freshly ground dried Tien Tsin or your favorite dried red chilies, or to taste

1 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms caps only, reserve their stems for another dish, caps cut in ¼-inch slices

1 pound cluster of fresh oyster mushrooms, root trimmed, stems separated, larger stems cut in ¼-inch slices

2 pounds young Japanese or Chinese eggplants, as small as possible, stems removed, cut in 3-inch batons

2 large shallots, cut in half from tip to root, peeled, then cut in ⅛-inch slices

4 large cloves garlic, sliced thinly

1 1-inch knob ginger, peeled and minced

½ pound frozen edamame, defrosted

¼ cup no-sodium Shaoxing wine, sake, or no-sodium vegetable broth to deglaze wok and flavor the glaze

2 tablespoons aged tamari, or to taste

1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar

2 heaping tablespoons organic corn starch

Half a bunch of cilantro leaves, roughly chopped

 

  1. Heat the vegetable broth in a small pot, covered, maintaining it at a very low simmer.
  2. To make the date paste, cover the whole pitted dates with water and microwave for 2 minutes on high. Steep them for 5 minutes to soften the dates. Add the soft dates and as much of the soaking liquid as needed to a high-speed blender. Blend to create a soft paste.
  3. Use a small coffee grinder to grind the Tien Tsin or other chili peppers into a powder.
  4. Heat a wok, or large skillet on medium for 3 minutes.
  5. Add the mushrooms, almost covering them with water, cover the wok and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the mushrooms are plump and tender. Use a skimmer to remove the mushrooms and set them aside in a bowl. Leave the cooking liquid.
  6. Add the eggplant batons, cover, and cook the eggplant, turning the batons occasionally so they cook evenly. Cook the eggplant for about 5 minutes before testing. The eggplant is ready as soon as a knife can pierce them easily. Do not overcook. Remove the eggplant when ready but leave the cooking liquid.
  7. If there is still cooking liquid in the pan, continue to cook it down until the liquid all but evaporates, leaving its flavorful residue in the pan.
  8. When the pan is almost dry, lower the heat to medium-low and add the shallots. Cover the wok and allow the shallots to sweat. When they have released their liquid, deglaze the pan with a small splash of the Shaoxing wine, sake, or vegetable broth, scraping up the caramelized shallot sugars and mushroom residue from the sides of the wok and stirring it into the shallots.
  9. Stir in the garlic and ginger, and after a minute or two, add back the cooked mushrooms and eggplants, mixing them well with the aromatics. Stir in the edamame. Cover and cook on low for 5 minutes.
  10. Mix the glazing liquid by combining in a medium bowl the hot broth, any remaining Shaoxing wine, 2 tablespoons of tamari, the date paste, vinegar, chili powder (if using), and corn starch. Stir well, taste, and correct seasonings so you perceive the salty, mouth-warming, sour, and sweet flavors all in balance.
  11. Raise the heat to medium, stir the glazing liquid before pouring it over the vegetables. Cook for the final few minutes, stirring as the liquid thickens into a glaze that coats the eggplants and mushrooms evenly. If it over-thickens, add a tablespoon or two of broth.
  12. Sprinkle the top with freshly chopped cilantro and serve hot in a warmed serving bowl or platter.

Glazed Eggplants with Mushrooms

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