Eggplant and mint/basil go so well together. This recipe for Warm Eggplant (Aubergine) Salad is by Harumi Kurihara, one of my favourite Japanese chefs. It serves 4 people as a side dish.
350g of eggplant, the long thin Japanese/Lebanese eggplants work best
2 tablespoons of tahini (sesame paste) or unsweetened nut butter
2 tablespoons of caster sugar or sweetener equivalent
2 tablespoons of tamari or gluten-free soy sauce
1 tablespoon of sake or asian cooking wine
1 tablespoon of rice vinegar
2 tablespoons of ground sesame seeds or gomashio
2 large spring onions, finely sliced
2 large handfuls of fresh mint, roughly chopped
2 large handfuls of basil leaves, roughly chopped
1. Chop off the eggplant stem and cut in half (lengthways) if using long thin eggplant or quarters if using large round Mediterranean eggplant.
2. Soak eggplant pieces in water for around 5 minutes. Then drain and wipe dry. This removes their bitterness.
3. Place the eggplant pieces on paper towel (kitchen paper) on a microwave safe plate. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes (500W). Alternatively, you could steam them over a boiling water in a saucepan.
4. While the eggplant is cooking make the dressing in a bowl – first add the tahini, then stir in the caster sugar, tamari, sake, rice vinegar and finally the sesame seeds or gomashio.
5. Slice the spring onions finely. Rinse and drain and then slice again.
6. Roughly chop the basil and mint (or shiso leaves).
7. Let the eggplant stand for a few minutes. Divide into long strips and then squeeze to get rid of excess water.
8. Place the eggplant in a dish. Add the sauce and coat the eggplant well.
9. Scatter the spring onions, basil and mint over the top of the eggplant and serve.
SOURCE: Harumi’s Japanese Cooking by Harumi Kurihara