1 small knob ginger
Oil (to deep-fry eggplants; not in photo)
Pinch salt (to remove fuzz on okra; not in photo)
For ohitashi marinade broth
200 cc dashi
1 tbsp mirin
1/2 tbsp sake
1 1/2 tbsp usukuchi soy sauce
In a small pot or stovetop-resistant container, put all ingredients for ohitashi marinade broth, and bring to boil.
Sprinkle salt on okra, rub with fingers to smooth surface, and quickly rinse.
In the meantime, remove top of eggplant, and cut in half lengthwise.
Make cuts in small intervals on the surface (diagonally or straight in a single direction or in a crisscross pattern).
While preparing eggplant, start heating oil.
While eggplant is still warm, put in ohitashi marinade broth.
Chill in the fridge until serving.
When ready to serve, grate ginger.
- This is good hot, too. If serving hot, simmer deep-fried eggplant in marinade for 5+ minutes, add fresh okra (no blanching necessary), and cook for another minute. Serve with grated ginger.
- Ideally, oil should be ready just as you finish cutting eggplant. Eggplant is often soaked in water to prevent discoloration, but when cooking with oil, this is unnecessary.
- Make sure the oil temperature is high enough. Otherwise, eggplant becomes mushy and greasy. Overcrowding the pot with eggplant easily lowers oil temperature. If eggplant you removed from the pot seems mushy and overly greasy, raise oil temperature, and deep-fry once again.
- If too much oil absorption is a concern, first draw out eggplant moisture with salt before deep-frying. See nasu to kobashira no XO-jan itame (eggplant and bay scallops in XO sauce) for the technique.
- Above, I used canola oil and sesame oil in combination. Canola oil by itself works fine, too. Sesame oil only would be too heavy. Olive oil would make the result taste fruity.
- The marinade is to keep ingredients moist, and is not for drinking. Be careful when serving this to people who are unfamiliar with Japanese food. Quite a few think it is to drink as a soup!