Grilled Eggplant

Inspired by a cute, non-assuming little Japanese restaurant in Sunnyside Queens called Takesushi. I may have Chinese-ified it a bit…I’m going to venture to say that smaller eggplants, and especially asian eggplants are more tender. The big behemoth ones are a bit tougher. And they take longer to cook.

Word of advice for folks who don’t own a grill nor the space for it: cast iron stove top griddles! Grill away.

eggplant

INGREDIENTS: (serves 4 as appetizer)

  • 1 large eggplant or 2 medium
  • 1/4 cup hoisen sauce
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tbs rice wine
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 green onions, chopped

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Heat grill. (I use an indoor cast iron stove top grill). To make things easier to clean, I lined my grill with aluminum foil, then generously brushed it with oil. Heat until you cannot hold your hand 5 inches from it for over 5 seconds. If it’s on your stove, medium high heat for a good 5+ minutes.
  • Rinse and halve eggplant. Slice off a small sliver from the rounded back of each half, so that it can sit flat on the grill.
  • Brush all sides of eggplant with oil. Score top side of eggplant, criss cross pattern. Cut about half way into the flesh. This allows better sauce/flavor distribution as well as even cooking, but any deeper and it might fall apart on the grill.
  • Place flat/presentation side down. Combine and brush with next three ingredients: hoisen, soy sauce, rice wine over the tops. Grill ~3-5 minutes. Rotate <90 degrees (to create grill mark) and grill another 3-5 minutes. Flip and continue to grill ~3-5 minutes, brush with plenty of hoisen mixture. Rotate <90 degrees again. Continue to brush with sauce if it dries. Eggplant should be deflating a bit. The flesh will be soft and pull away easily. Sprinkle sesame seeds and green onions over the top. Serve.
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