From a typical side dish item, I somehow ended creating this Eggplant Kimchi! I don’t even know if this exist in the books! Ha! Another inspiration from my grandmother, who used to make this wonderful seasoning sauce for her perilla leaves. In memory of her, I decided to use similar ingredients for the eggplants. To do a taste test, I decided to use my dad. When he took that first bite of the eggplant, his eye brows raised up instantly! I asked, “what’s the matter?” He replied with a smile and a hum, “Ummmm!!” I knew if I had passed my dad’s picky taste bud, it was a pretty good sign! LOL. Fast forward 10 years, little did I know that this recipe would bring so much excitement! For all the Instagram fans who awaited patiently, this one is for you!! LOL. This kimchi is really easy to make, and so refreshing!! Enhanced by chopped perilla leaves from the summer garden, it will help increase your appetite by two-fold!! As you leave it in the fridge over night or two, the flavors get even more intense!! I warned you, watch out for pungency!! LOL
Lastly, please remember to buy the long, skinny Asian eggplants for this dish!! They have a different texture from the Italian eggplant!
how should i prep the eggplants?
- Clean the eggplants and trim off the tip. Cut the eggplants into 2″ long segments, then half them lengthwise.
- On top of boiling water, place the steaming tray and place the eggplants on top with skin side down. Steam on low temp for about 8-10min. Steaming will bring out the sweetness inside the eggplant.
- The eggplants are done when the chopstick pokes through easily. Do not over steam! Otherwise, you will be left with a pile of mush!! You can under cook to keep more of the eggplant texture.
- Arrange the eggplants on a strainer and let it cool for 5-10min. Place another bowl underneath the strainer to collect liquid from the eggplant, which will be added into the sauce mixture.
- When cool enough to touch, poke middle of eggplant with a chopstick and pull the chopstick up or down to slit in half, lengthwise. Repeat to all pieces.
Let’s make the sauce and marinate!
- Gather all the ingredients and make the sauce mixture. Mix well. Then take the strained (thick) liquid from the eggplant and mix it into the sauce. Gently transfer the eggplant into a new bowl.
- Pour the sauce mixture onto the eggplant and carefully toss with a spoon.
- Transfer to a clean container with a tight lid, sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Wasn’t this an easy recipe?? And check out the gorgeous colors and texture you get from this! Plus its super delicious and healthy too!! I think our family consumed this within 3 days!! You can eat it wrapped with sesame leaves and on top of hot sticky rice!! You can also add this to rice with fried egg and make a bibimbop style! The possibilities are endless!! Please share after you try this recipe and let me know how your’s turned out!!
Eggplant Kimchi, Gaji Kimchi
- 3 chinese eggplant/long asian eggplant about 1lb 9oz
- 4 tbsp strained liquid from eggplant
- 5 tbsp Korean soy sauce
- 1 tbsp mirin
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 tbsp gochugaru/red chili pepper flake
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds
- 1 pinch black pepper
- ½ tsp ginger minced
- 1 tbsp garlic minced
- 2 tbsp Korean green pepper finely diced
- ¾ cup scallion finely chopped
- 12 perilla leaves finely chopped
- Chop eggplants into 2" long segments, then chop them in half lengthwise.
- Boil water and lay the steaming tray on top.
- Lay the eggplant skin side down on the steaming tray. Steam in low-med heat for 8-10 min or until chopstick can poke easily.
- Carefully place the cooked eggplant onto a strainer with a bowl underneath and let it cool for about 10 min. Poke the eggplant with chopstick in the middle, split in half, lengthwise. Repeat on all eggplants. Let the eggplants rest on the strainer for another 10 min.
- In a big bowl, combine all the sauce ingredients and mix well. Take the strained liquid from the eggplant and add it to the sauce mixture. Mix well. (The strained liquid will be somewhat thick, measuring around 4Tbsp.)
- Place the eggplant into the mixing bowl and pour the sauce mixture on top. Gently toss with spoon until sauce is mixed well. Sprinkle with sesame seeds on top, optional.
- Can be consumed on same day or leave in the fridge over night for intense flavoring! Best to consume within 3-4 days. Best to store in a container with tight lid.