Korean Stir-Fried Eggplant (gaji bokkeum)

From miso glazed eggplant, to spicy Sichuan-style eggplant, to my mom’s special eggplant curry, it’s been easy this past month to cut back on meat and cook up hearty vegetarian dishes with delicious, in-season vegetables like eggplant. 

Before the pumpkins and squash of the fall season take over my kitchen, here’s another simple, tasty eggplant recipe I love to cook up for a weeknight dinner  - Korean Stir-Fried Eggplant (gaji bokkeum 볶음).

Pick up a few Asian eggplants from your local co-op or farmer’s market. You really want the freshest possible eggplants for this recipe since the vegetable is the star of the dish.

Lightly coat the chopped eggplant with olive oil, and then roast in the oven until just tender and nicely charred. Once the eggplant is roasted, toss them into a skillet to quickly stir-fry along with garlic and colorful bell peppers.

Add the sauce in next. It’s a mix of our garlicky-spicy Korean BBQ Blend with soy sauce, rice wine (or mirin), honey, water or broth, and toasted sesame oil. It’s savory, sweet, and sour with just the right amount of heat. Pour the sauce into the stir-fry, and cook until it caramelizes with the vegetables.

Enjoy this Korean Stir-Fried Eggplant as a side dish, or as the main dish along with a bowl of brown rice or steamed jasmine rice.

Korean Stir-Fried Eggplant (gaji bokkeum) 
by Season with Spice
Serves 2 as a main dish

3 medium sized Asian eggplants
2 garlic cloves – minced
1 bell pepper (I used a mix of yellow and red) – cut into strips
2 tbsp vegetable oil

For the sauce:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine (or mirin)
2 – 3 tsp of Season with Spice’s Korean BBQ Blend
2 teaspoons honey
2 tablespoons water, or broth
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

1. Preheat oven to 450F. Slice the eggplants lengthwise in half, then cut each half into thirds. Place the eggplant pieces on a baking sheet. Lightly drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat evenly. Then lightly season with salt. Place cut side down and bake for about 12-15 minutes (flipping over once), or until fork tender. Then broil the eggplant for about a minute or two, until nicely charred.
2. While the eggplant is roasting, whisk together soy sauce, rice wine or mirin, Korean BBQ Blend, honey, water or broth, and toasted sesame oil.
3. Once the eggplant is done, heat two tablespoons of oil in a skillet or wok until hot. Add in garlic, and stir-fry for about 15 to 20 seconds, or until aromatic. Add in the bell pepper and stir-fry for about 2-3 minutes, or crisp-tender. Turn heat up to high, add in the cooked eggplant and pour in the prepared sauce. Toss quickly to combine everything together. Have a taste and see if you need to adjust any seasonings or liquid. It’s done once the sauce is nicely caramelized. Dish out and enjoy!