Serves 4 | Prep time 30 minutes | Cook time 20 minutes | Inactive Time 2-3 hours
It goes without saying that we believe Seattle has one of the best summers in the country. We have been really enjoying the sunshine, but the heat wave this year could be wearing you out. Have you been experiencing loss of appetite, trouble sleeping, and feeling lethargic? Those symptoms are called Natsu Bate (Summer Fatigue). Some people believe eating eel keeps you from getting natsu bate. But my recommendation is a chilled Nasu Agebitashi using seasonal eggplant. I have included this dish in Kozmo Kitchen’s bentos so many times this season, and people loved it!
In Japan, it’s believed that eggplant cools you down. So, it’s enjoyed during hot and humid Japanese summer seasons. I think Nasu Agebitashi is a perfect way to enjoy this summer vegetable. It’s very easy to make, and you can chill the dish in the fridge and eat it for days (if you can resist temptation to eat it all at once, that is).
In this recipe I added another summery vegetable, okra, and bell pepper to accompany eggplant. You can use other vegetables such as kabocha pumpkin, asparagus, green beans, zucchini, shishito pepper – anything you can fry. Since it keeps well in the fridge, you can make a big batch and eat it over several hot summer days. Enjoy the rest of summer with delicious and soothing Nasu Agebitashi!
▪ 1(10- by 2-inch) sheet kombu (dried kelp)
▪ 2 cups water
▪ ¼ cup dried bonito flakes
▪ ¼ cup soy sauce
▪ ¼ cup sake
▪ ½ cup mirin
▪ 2-3 eggplant (Japanese, Chinese or Italian variety), top cut off and cut in half lengthwise
▪ 8 okra, top cut off
▪ 1 red bell pepper, cut in half, seeded
▪ Oil for frying
▪ 1 green onion, chopped finely
▪ 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
Make dashi marinade
❶ In a medium-size pot, add water and kombu. Soak kombu in water for 30 minutes.
❷ Heat the pot over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes. Before the water begins to boil, add bonito flakes, soy sauce, sake and mirin.
❸ Cook another few minutes and turn off the heat.
❹ Drain kombu and bonito using cheese cloth or a paper towel. Reserve the liquid.
❶ Make shallow incisions on the eggplant skin diagonally at intervals of 1/8 inches. (2-3 mm). Cut the scored eggplant crosswise in half or three pieces (about 2 inches long for each piece). Set aside.
❷ Cut bell pepper into inch-wide strips lengthwise. Set aside.
❸ Heat frying oil (with at least 2 inches deep of oil in a deep sauce pan to 325 F. Or heat less oil (about 2 Tbsp) over high heat in a frying pan if pan frying. Put eggplant, bell pepper and okra in oil and cook for about a minute. Strain and rest them on a sheet of paper towel.
❶ Transfer dashi marinade in a sealable container such as Tupperware, and add in all the fried vegetables.
❷ Cover and chill the vegetables in marinade in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight if possible because eggplant soaks up the marinade better.
❸ To serve agebitashi, put a few pieces of eggplant, bell pepper and okra in an individual serving bowl, and garnish with green onion and grated ginger on top.
Recipe by Kanako Koizumi | www. kozmokitchen.com
Kanako, a native of Akita, Japan, is a chef, author and instructor focused on authentic Japanese homecooking. Chef Kanako also offers in-home private cooking classes for groups up to 12. You can reach her at email@example.com.
Looking for delicious Japanese party platters for your home parties? Kanako caters to small to medium sized private parties (up to 50 people) with a variety of Japanese small and large plates of appetizers, rice dishes and more. Rates vary depending on the type of service and volume of food ($300 minimum for Seattle area).