Roasted Eggplant Donburi
Mimic the textures and flavors of unagi using eggplant, seaweed and kabayaki sauce for a vegan alternative to eel.
(Recipe Courtesy: Marc Matsumoto from the Fresh Tastes blog)
- 14 ounces (400 grams) Japanese eggplant
- 2 tablespoons evaporated cane juice
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons mirin
- 2 tablespoons sake
- 1 full sheet nori
- cooked brown rice
- Wash the eggplant, and poke a few holes in it with a fork to keep it from exploding. To get the skin off, you need to roast it at a high temperature (like you would a bell pepper). You can either do this in a broiler with the rack in the top position, turning the eggplant every few minutes until the skin is charred, or you can grill the eggplant, turning every few minutes.
- Once the eggplant is cooked through and the skin is charred, remove it from the oven/grill and let it cool until you can handle it.
- While you're waiting for it to cool, make the kabayaki sauce by putting the evaporated cane juice, soy sauce, mirin and sake in a pot and boiling over high heat until the mixture forms large shiny bubbles. Be careful not to let this boil over. Turn off the heat and set aside.
- Peel the skin of the eggplant, starting from the tip and peeling towards the stem. Cut the stem off.
- If you feel around the peeled eggplant, you should find a section where your finger will easily slips inside. Split the eggplant by running your finger up and down the length of the eggplant and splay it out flat. If there are any visible clusters of seeds, carefully remove them with a paring knife, but don't worry about getting them all or you won't have anything left to eat.
- Place the filleted eggplant between a few layers of paper towels and gently press to remove any excess water.
- Trim the nori to fit onto each piece of eggplant and stick to the the seed side of the eggplant.
- Flip the eggplant over and baste with a generous coat of kabayaki sauce.
- Fill four bowls with cooked rice and drizzle the remaining sauce onto the rice. Lay an eggplant on each bowl of rice and serve.