I just found my favorite way to cook eggplants! Delicious, velvety smooth in the center, and crisp on the edges. With this on the dinner table, I’d easily pass up on any meat dish!
This simple and excellent eggplant dish relies mainly on this Korean ingredient – Deonjang. It basically is a fermented soybean paste very much like a Japanese miso. Its flavor is somewhere in between a yellow and red miso – a perfect balance of salty, sweet, tangy, and fermented umami flavors.
A small tub of this paste can easily be found cheap at any Korean specialty grocery store. Just in case, you can’t find one, a yellow Japanese miso would be the closest substitute.
It’ll be thick out of the tub and really hard to spread evenly onto the eggplant wedges. Whisk in some peanut oil to thin it out and give a more nutty flavor too. Mix some soy sauce and brown sugar to enhance those flavors.
Toss the eggplant wedges in until every piece is evenly coated with the flavor mix.
I’ve chosen Thai eggplants for this dish as you can see. I love how the sphere shape of this variety allows for wedge cuts which cook with a perfect ratio of moist flesh to crisp edges.
Get everything into a sous vide bag, eggplants and sauce.
Cook the eggplants for 45 minutes at 185F.
You’ll most certainly find it impossible to get the bag submerged in the sous vide bath – they will float to the surface and cook unevenly as a result.
I simply took some soup cups to keep the bag below the water surface. Take anything that’ll work for this same purpose, just be sure to use something that can stand the 185F cooking temperature you’ll be cooking at with your sous vide cooker.
When the time’s up, take the eggplants out of the bag. Drain them as dry as possible so they can crisp up perfectly in the pan. Getting them in the pan with too much liquid will cause them to steam soft rather than sear crisp.
Don’t discard the cooking juices in the bag. They’ll make a perfect glaze for the finished eggplants or as a quick dipping sauce on the side.
There’ll be no need to oil the searing pan. Some of the oil in the sauce would have definitely coated these eggplants and will be more than enough to crisp them up.
Finish the dish with some of the Deonjang glaze you’ve set aside and a good sprinkling of sesame seeds for more crunch.