And the main ingredient is…aubergine

I absolutely love Japanese food – when done properly. So when I am given food from Japan, I am usually excited, unless it’s NattōIn this case I was given something I’d never had before – an aubergine-based meal. Literally the main ingredient was aubergine.

This may not sound that crazy to you, but until now an aubergine has never been an exciting thing for me – I’ll eat it, mostly happily, but it has a slight bitterness to it which is just a tad unpleasant and the texture can be a bit unusual. So all the better that I try it out and give it a chance to win me over, as I love doing things with ingredients that I’m not used to.

I had been told, when I was given the packet, that it was very easy, that it was a nice meal, and that it was quick. So today, when I needed something good for lunch, I decided to grab the pack and get cooking. This is what I saw:

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Thankfully, the pictures make it easy enough to work out what is going on: cut the (200g) aubergine in a very precise way, fry it, and add the sauce packets. In my next post I’ll go into a little more detail about what happened with a more complicated packet. The only thing was that I was a bit nervous about the red writing, but hopefully it wasn’t going to be something fatal.

And this was the outcome:

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I served it on Japanese rice (cooked in a rice cooker). The two packets were the ‘bits’ that you can see (chicken and carrot) and a paste – something soy-based, I think. The additional ingredients weren’t that amazing, to be honest – as is typical of these things, the carrot and (potentially?) onion pieces were essentially mush – but what was amazing was that this went perfectly with aubergine.

The dominant flavours of the aubergine were nicely complemented by the saltiness of the sauce, and went really well with rice, though according to the front of the packet, rice may not have been necessary. But I loved the combination of flavour and texture, which is what this blog is all about – the interesting things that you can do in combination. So this will be a big thumbs up to aubergines – in particular, the thing I learned was that if you cut aubergines up (very precisely into 12) they cook very nicely on a high heat and the texture is much more interesting.

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