I’ll admit, I’ve only recently gotten into using eggplant. (I come from a family of carnivores, so ingredients like this often fell by the wayside.) However, I’m quickly learning to love the way this unique veggie can absorb whatever flavor you throw its way. Whether you’re adding this to Italian recipes, Mediterranean cuisine, or Asian dishes, it becomes a fantastic vehicle for all kinds of delicious flavors.
In this recipe, I took some inspiration from a favorite Hawaiian entree—honey garlic chicken. The sweet, savory, and pungent sauce easily adapts to become a perfect glaze for this vegetarian-friendly entree! This is delicious on top of a bed of rice, but if you want to play to the dish’s Hawaiian inspiration, add in a side of macaroni salad. With a meal like that, you’ll be dreaming about the beach in no time!
Honey Garlic Eggplant
1/2 tsp sesame seeds
2 TBSP honey
2 TBSP soy sauce
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 TBSP water
2 Japanese eggplant, sliced into 1/2”-thick slices
2 TBSP cornstarch
1/4 cup oil
Put a small sauté pan on high heat for one minute; toss in the sesame seeds and immediately remove from the heat. Stir constantly until fragrant, then return to low heat and add the honey, soy sauce, pepper, ginger, garlic, and water. Stir until well-combined, bring to a simmer, and cook until fragrant. Remove from the heat, and set aside.
Dust the eggplant slices with a light coating of the cornstarch on both sides. Pour 2 TBSP oil in a large sauté pan, and place on medium heat. Once hot, add the eggplant slices in a single layer; cook 3-4 minutes, until the bottom is golden brown. Drizzle the remaining oil over the top of the eggplant slices, and flip. Cook for another 3-4 minutes, until golden brown. In the last minute of cooking, spoon the sauce evenly over the eggplant. Remove from the pan, and serve over rice.