Do you adore eggplant? This Eggplant Agebitashi could be your new favorite for eggplant recipes. The long, slender Japanese eggplant is first deep-fried until crispy brown, then soaked in flavorful dashi and soy sauce-based broth.
In a saucepan, combine the sauce ingredients and mix it all together. Bring it to a boil and turn off the heat (keep it covered so the sauce doesn’t evaporate).
In a deep frying pot/saucepan, add the deep-frying oil and bring it to 320ºF (160ºC).
Check if the oil has reached at 320ºF (160ºC) by putting the wooden chopsticks into the oil. If you see the small bubbles coming from the chopsticks, the oil is ready.
While waiting for the oil, we prepare the eggplant. Usually, eggplant is soaked in water to prevent discoloration. For this recipe, however, we avoid soaking in water because we will need to deep fry it without coating. You must cut the eggplant right before deep-frying to avoid changing color. Discard the tops of the eggplant and cut in half lengthwise.
Make incisions on the eggplant diagonally (or cut in a crisscross pattern). Do not cut through, and the intervals should be ⅛ inch (3 mm).
Cut each eggplant into 3-4 sections. Make sure to wipe off any moisture with paper towel.
Gently put a few pieces of eggplant, skin facing down, and deep fry for 2 to 2.5 minutes. If you put too many pieces of (cold) eggplant in the oil, the oil temperature will decrease too fast and it gets mushy and greasy. So do not overcrowd the pot. If you realize the oil temperature is too low, take out the eggplant and wait till the oil reaches the right temperature. Remove from the oil and drain on a wire rack, skin facing up. Deep fry the next batch, until all the eggplant pieces are deep-fried.
When the eggplants are cooled, transfer to a rimmed container or dish. Heat up the sauce until hot and then pour the hot sauce over to soak the eggplant for several hours (at least 1 hour). If you serve this dish chilled, put it in the refrigerator.
While soaking, peel the skin of daikon and grate.
Cut green onion and grate ginger.
Put the eggplant in a serving dish and sprinkle some katsuobushi. Put grated daikon and grated ginger on top. Pour the sauce over and garnish with green onion. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
You can keep the leftovers in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days.