Artists go through blue or red phases in their work, but mine involve actual types of food. I was obsessed with pesto for a hot minute but now I am in an eggplant phase. I picked up these white eggplants from the Farmer's Market and the girl said that white eggplants are actually sweeter than regular eggplants, so I decided to make my Sweet and Spicy Japanese Eggplant dish. I don't know if Japanese people actually prepare eggplants in this way, but I use some Japanese ingredients so thats why I call them that.
I found this recipe originally in a magazine but didn't have the main spice mix called Togarashi, which is made from red pepper, roasted orange peel, yellow sesame seed, black sesame seed, japanese pepper, seaweed and ginger and can be found in Japanese grocery stores. Instead I just grated fresh ginger and orange zest and sprinkled some cayenne on top and it actually comes out better this way, more fresh and spunky than if you just use the Togarashi.
First I slice the eggplants and season them with salt, pepper, togarashi (optional), or if you don't have that grated ginger, orange zest and cayenne pepper. I coat them in oil then grill them with a little sesame oil until browned on both sides. Then I pour Mirin and Soy Sauce over them and it gets very fun and sizzly. Mirin is a rice cooking wine that is nice and sweet. The soy caramelizes up and this ends up being a sweet and spicey eggplant dish that takes eating eggplant to a whole new level.