The something that I can’t pass by in a farmers market in this season is the eggplant. So many varieties and colors of eggplants.
Japanese eggplants are skinny and longer shape with dark purple skin. The flesh has sweet and mild flavor, and the skin is softer.
Eggplants are awesome for stir-flying, grilling, roasting, steaming, deep frying and everything, however, my favorite way for Japanese eggplants is microwave because it can keep bright purple color of eggplant skin from getting dull brown skin color.
This sesame marinated eggplant is not only great toppings for noodle but also side dish for steamed white rice.
Somen noodle is the thinnest wheat noodle in Japan. It is great with hot and cold, but the chilled somen noodle is very summery dish in Japan, because it is so quick to cook, very light too. As is often the case with kids in Japan at the end of summer break, they are tired of somen noodle so much. Parents tend to make somen dishes so often because it is easy and doesn’t require side dishes. But, no wonder everyone crave the chilled somen noodle dish in summer, once you taste it.
Chilled Somen Noodle with Sesame Eggplant
For the chilled noodle soup
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 1/3 cup mirin
- 2 tbsp sake
- 2 x 2 inch pieces kombu seaweed
- 0.3 oz katsuobushi (bonito flakes)
- 1 1/2 cups water
For the sesame eggplant
- 1 ea medium Japanese eggplant (about 5 oz)
- sesame oil, some
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp mirin
- 3 tbsp water
For the noodle and toppings
- 4 bundles somen noodle
- 2 oz daikon, grated, squeeze out water lightly
- 1/4 tsp grated ginger
- 2 ea shiso leaves
- 1 ea green onion, finely sliced, for garnish
For the chilled noodle soup, put all the ingredients of the soup in a pot. Bring to simmer, and cook for 5 minutes over low heat. Strain the soup into a bowl and discard the kombu seaweed and bonito flakes. Chill the soup in a refrigerator completely.
For the sesame eggplant, cut off the tip of an eggplant and cut it in half lengthwise. Using a sharp knife, score the skin of eggplant 1/4 inch deep diagonally. Brush them with sesame oil evenly. Place them in a microwave-safe plate and wrap it tightly. Microwave it for a couple minutes until they get tender. (My 700 watts microwave takes about 3 minutes, increase or decrease the cooking time according to your microwave power.)
In a small pot, combine soy sauce, mirin, and water. Bring it to a boil. Pour it over the eggplants to marinade. Chill it in a refrigerator. Flip them occasionally.
Bring a large pot to boil for the noodle. Cook the somen noodle according to the instruction of the package. Drain the pot and rinse the noodle with ice water. Once the noodle is chilled, strain it completely.
Divide the noodle into two serving bowls and pour the chilled noodle soup. Top with eggplants, shiso, grated daikon, grated ginger, and chopped green onion.