This healthy, delicious Spicy Summer Eggplant Salad recipe infuses a typical salad entrée with Japanese “umami” or savor. Mirin, a cooking sake, can usually be found in the international foods aisle of the grocery store or at specialty Asian markets. If possible, opt for genuine “hon” mirin, which has a higher alcohol content of around 12%. The imitation kind, usually called “mirin-type”, is primarily sugar.
The raw garlic in this spicy summer eggplant salad dish adds an extra dimension but can be omitted for those with sensitivity or when serving a romantic dinner. Leftover sauce can be refrigerated and reused for up to 2 days as a quick lunch salad dressing.
- 1 head of red-leaf or Boston lettuce, rinsed, dried and chopped
- 4 thin Chinese eggplants
- 1/3 cup of low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/3 cup of Japanese mirin
- 1/4 cup of unseasoned, unsweetened
- Rice vinegar
- 2 1/2 tablespoons of white sugar
- 2-3 tablespoons of minced scallions
- 2 chillies, seeds removed, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon of minced ginger
- 1 teaspoon of minced garlic (optional)
- About 2 tablespoons of olive oil for frying
- Extra shredded scallions for garnish
- Trim the eggplant and use a peeler to remove strips of the eggplants’ skin to strip the eggplant lengthwise. Cut eggplant in 3/4-inch disks and then quarters. Soak eggplant pieces in cold water for 5 minutes to remove any bitterness. Drain and pat eggplant dry with paper towels (steps two and three can be prepared while the eggplant is soaking).
- Combine the soy sauce, mirin, sugar, and rice vinegar in a large glass, ceramic, or metal serving bowl and set aside.
- Rinse, drain, and chop the lettuce into bite-sized pieces. Place a serving of lettuce onto each dinner plate or bowl. Set aside.
- In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When hot, add the eggplant pieces and stir fry for about 5 minutes (until eggplant pieces are tender in the middle).
- Place the cooked eggplant directly into the bowl of sauce; add ginger, chillies, scallions and optional garlic and combine.
- Serve eggplant on chopped lettuce with warm sauce and shredded scallions on top for garnish.