Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Easy summer veggie recipes

One of the great advantages to life in rural Japan is the abundance of fresh, seasonal vegetables. I particularly love summer vegetables like cucumber and eggplant.

So here are two super easy (and inexpensive) recipes that are particularly refreshing to eat during the heat of summer (and even though it's already mid-September, temperature wise it feels like we're still at the peak of summer):

Tataki kyuuri no tobanjan ae たたききゅうり豆板醤あえ
("beaten" cucumber with "tobanjan" chili bean sauce dressing)
Source: 手間なし、ササっと早ごはん(オレンジページブックス)

Ingredients (serves 2) 材料 (2人前):
1 cucumber ...きゅうり 1本

Dressing 調味料:
1 TBS sesame oil ...ごま油 大さじ1
1/2 TBS Japanese rice vinegar ...  酢 大さじ1/2
1/2 tsp chili bean sauce (tobanjan) ...豆板醤 小さじ1/2

1.Beat washed cucumber with a rolling pin (or similar object) until cracks appear.
2.Break into pieces approx. 4cm long and 2-3cm wide.
3.Mix dressing in a bowl.
4.Add cucumbers and mix together.

Mushi nasu 蒸しなす
(steamed eggplant)
Source: スゴイ!なすレシピ―ポリフェノールでからだ若返り! (レタスクラブMOOK) 

Ingredients (serves 2) 材料 (2人前):
3 Japanese eggplants*...なす 3個
salt (as necessary)...塩 少々
soy sauce (to taste)...しょゆう 適宜
grated ginger (oroshi shouga) (to taste)...おろししょうが 適宜
Japanese mustard paste (a pinch) ...練がらし 少々

1. Leaving the steam intact, peel the rest of the skin off the eggplant and immerse in water immediately.
2. Lightly** dry off eggplant and sprinkle/lightly rub salt all over.
3. Place eggplants on a microwave safe plate, cover with plastic wrap and heat in microwave*** for 3-4min
4. Once the eggplant has cooled, slice into 1.5 -2cm high rounds.
5. Arrange on plate and drizzle with soy sauce and mixture of grated ginger and Japanese mustard taste.****

*Japanese eggplants have thinner skins and fewer seeds than American ones, can be substituted with Chinese eggplants or small Italian ones
**Leaving the eggplant slightly damp will help the salt stick to the eggplant
***This recipe was designed for a 500W microwave. I have no idea what setting this would be on North American microwave...Medium? Experimentation necessary!
**** I skip both the soy sauce and ginger/mustard since entirely since I love the unadulterated taste of eggplant