Sunday, December 29, 2013

Gaji Namul: Eggplant Side Dish (Improvisation)

Cooking is an art. It is spontaneous and free to interpretations. It should be international and not always associated with one specific nation or culture.

Living in such a multicultural place, I should call this dish a soy sauce marinated eggplant. Whether it is Korean-authentic or not, I doubt that the authenticity would overweight the importance of the taste, which has been inspired by the Korean eggplant side dish Gaji Namul. So if you are looking for something easy to cook, throw yourself in.

Since this recipe is an improvisation, meaning that I made it without measuring the ingredients, I will only list the items needed, but not the quantity. Basically, everything is according to your own taste. In the picture above, I've used two eggplants. I personally suggest eating Gaji Namul with rice and beef, since the chemistry between beef and eggplants is simply amazing!


Chinese eggplants
Chinese soy sauce
Rice vinegar
Sesame oil
Korean pepper flakes (Gochugaru)
Sesame seeds
Green onions

1. Slice the eggplants into quarters and steam them for 15 to 20 minutes or until it becomes soft. Let it cool and drain for a bit and when it is cool enough to handle, tear the quarters of eggplants into strips (about the size of a finger, or thinner if you like it finer). Let it aside to drain from the excess of water.

2. In a big bowl, mix soy sauce, rice vinegar and sugar altogether, everything is up to your own taste. Don't forget to add garlic to bring up the taste of the eggplants. When it reaches the taste you like, add the eggplants in the sauce. Mix well and then add in some sesame oil and a bit of Gochugaru.

3. Let it rest for at least 20 minutes. If you put it in the fridge, let it rest for at least 1 hour. The longer it sits, the more the taste will penetrate in the eggplants.

4. Serve it with chopped green onions and sesame seeds sprinkled on top of the Gaji Namul. It is better served cold.

Good luck and enjoy!

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