Gochujang eggplant

Gochujang eggplant

gochujang eggplant plate

Even though autumn is clearly very much in the air, I am still a little nostalgic about summer. It’s perhaps because I feel that there wasn’t enough of it this year and what there was was tainted by the realities of a global pandemic – and so I am not ready to say goodbye to late summer produce just yet. Especially eggplants, which I have been buying a lot of lately. I have at least 2, maybe 3, shareable eggplant recipes in my head if you are a fellow fan.

Today’s recipe is a quick, midweek number that uses few ingredients and is pretty effortless in terms of prep, yet it delivers a satisfying and packed-with-flavour meal. This dish is a love child of two of my other dishes, this one and this one. My focus here was to create a dish that is easy to make, delivers a lot of flavour and does not use a lot of oil as I am on a bit of a post-lockdown health kick.

Even when not on a health kick, I’m generally quite oil-averse although I’m not ready to ditch it completely. I realise that there is little nutritional benefit to oil (you are better off consuming the actual ingredient that it is derived from), but it does help in the flavour department immensely and I feel that’s not a trivial matter. In this case, however, I really don’t feel that there is that much difference and as eggplant is notorious for being an oil-thirsty vegetable, I’ve decided to prepare it in the same way I treat it when making my famous moussaka. I slice it and stick it into a hot oven and let the high temperature soften its flesh. Once soft, it takes well to being coated in an aromatic, spicy sauce and while the fried version is a touch more indulgent, I think this is a good option if you are trying to eat healthier.

gochujang eggplant ingredient

gochujang eggplant sauce

gochujang eggplant wok

gochujang eggplant chopsticks

serves
2-3
PREP
15 min
COOKING
30 min
serves
2-3
PREPARATION
15 min
COOKING
30 min
INGREDIENTS
  • 500 g / 1 lb (2 small) eggplants / aubergines
  • 1 cup raw rice (I used white jasmin)
  • 2 spring onions / scallions
  • 5-10 ml / 1-2 tsp high smoke point oil, I use rice bran
  • small bunch of fresh coriander, chopped
  • chopped toasted peanuts, to decorate

SAUCE

METHOD
  1. Heat up the oven to 200° C / 390° F and grab an old-fashioned (ideally steel not teflon coated) baking tray. See NOTES for the alternative.
  2. Cut your aubergines / eggplants into 1.25 cm / ½” rounds and arrange them on the baking tray. There is no need to grease them although you can use a small amount of oil if you wish. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, flipping the slices to the other side halfway through. They are done when soft all the way though and lightly browned on both sides.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the rice (I use the absorption method, 1 cup rice : 1¼ cups water and no salt) and chop spring onions. Cut them on the diagonal and separate white and light green parts from the dark green ends, which we will use as garnish. Set aside.
  4. Dissolve cornstarch in 2 tsp of water in a medium bowl to create cornstarch slurry, then add the remaining sauce ingredients and 2 tbsp of water. Mix well and adjust the level of spiciness (gochujang) to your taste.
  5. Once out of the oven, cut aubergine slices into smaller, bite-sized chunks. I cut each slice into 6-8 wedges, depending on the size.
  6. Heat up a wok on a medium heat. Once it starts to smoke slightly, add a small amount of oil, white and light green spring onion slices to the wok. Stir fry them for a few seconds – until softened and lightly charred.
  7. Give the sauce a good stir before adding it to the hot wok. Allow it to bubble for a few seconds to thicken. Stir in aubergine / eggplant chunks, give them a few seconds to heat up. Take off the heat.
  8. Divide the rice between two bowls, top with saucy aubergine / eggplant. Garnish with green parts of spring onions, fresh coriander and chopped toasted peanuts.

NOTES
*Ensure you get a gluten-free brand if making this for someone intolerant to gluten.

If you are not fussed about your oil consumption, you can chop it up small, dust with cornstach / cornflour and fry the aubergine / eggplant in oil as in this recipe.

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NUTRITIONAL INFO
calories
438
22%
sugars
12 g
13%
fats
10 g
14%
saturates
1 g
7%
proteins
10 g
21%
carbs
77 g
30%
*per serving
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4.9
14 reviews, 26 comments
REVIEWS & QUESTIONS
Kaitlyn:
Amazing. Incredible. Stellar. Iconic. Your flavors are always perfect. Truly a blessing of a website
    Ania
    Ania:
    Aw, thank you Kaitlyn! So nice of you to say this. x Ania
      Kaitlyn:
      Oops, I'm realizing my comment didn't make it clear that I did in fact try this recipe! I thought the flavors in the sauce were really well-balanced, to give some context to my original compliments :)
        Ania
        Ania:
        Thanks Kaitlyn, I got what you meant and thank you. x Ania
Ebony:
Holy moley this was AMAZING. I put the eggplant into the oven in small pieces like the other reviews suggested and doubled the amount of gochujang. Such an easy weekday lunch that came together in 20 minutes. I'll be making this over and over and over again. Thank you!!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks so much, Ebony! I'm so happy to hear that you enjoyed it so much and plan to make it on a regular basis. x Ania
Pauline:
Made this for dinner last night, cooking the eggplant in the oven with no oil is a game changer, it browned up and no more oil soaked eggplant! I would add a little more gochujang but I like spicy. My partner said this dish was spot on. Thanks
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks Pauline! I am so happy that you found another of my dishes that you and your partner enjoy. Spiciness is so tricky and so subjective (as is salt and sugar content actually). I've had people telling me it is TOO spicy! It's right for me but my heat tolerance is low-moderate, I would say. Anyway, it's something that's easy to adjust so I hope you'll make this recipe again. x Ania
Debbie:
I made this for dinner yesterday and it was a nice and easy weeknight option. I love Asian food, specifically Korean and Japanese cuisine so the flavours for this was a treat! Thanks for the recipe!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks Debbie, I'm glad you enjoyed this dish! Ania
Michele:
I love this recipe! I have made it a bunch of times. I'm not the biggest fan of eggplant, but the flavor of this is strong and the baking process for the eggplant takes care of the texture issues for me. I have also made this with cubed tofu in place of eggplant. It is good with or without the coriander. I have doubled the sauce before and tossed it with a lot of steamed broccoli to bulk it up with veg. It's very fast and easy.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks so much, Michele. I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed this recipe and I really appreciate you taking the time to review. x Ania
Sabrina:
Wow! Absolutely delicious flavours and simple to execute. I'll be saving this to my favourite week night recipes. Thanks Ania!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks so much, Sabrina! I'm so happy to hear that and thanks so much for taking the time to leave this lovely review - I really appreciate it. x Ania
RedPanda:
Hi Ania. We had this for dinner last night and I just wanted to let you know how great it was — delicious with complex flavours. I served it with steamed Chinese greens with your Sesame Dressing — yummy!
    Ania
    Ania:
    I'm so happy to hear that, Susan! Your sides sound delicious. And thank you so much for taking the time to let me know - much appreciated! Ania
Otokini:
Thanks for the response! Yes I was thinking of making the aubergine ahead and doing the rest on the night. Thanks again :)
    Ania
    Ania:
    That should work, good luck! Ania
Otokini Davies:
Looks lovely! Thinking about making it for a dinner party, do you think I can make it ahead of time? Thanks!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi,
    Thank you. I suppose so although I would personally bake the aubergine ahead of time and make the sauce just before serving as it takes no time at all and you'll need to re-heat it anyway. If you decide to make the whole thing ahead of time, you may need to add a splash of water to re-heat - use your judgement. Ania
Lindsay:
I used to live in South Korea so always have a tub of gochujang in the fridge, but I’ve always tended to use it in traditional Korean dishes. This is a great alternative. I’ve made this about 3 or 4 times now, as a main and as a side dish to sweet potato curry and it always turns out well.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Delighted to hear that you enjoyed this dish, Lindsay! And thank you so much for letting me know, much appreciated. Ania
Chrissy:
This was absolutely delicious. Beautiful ingredients, and stunning flavours!!!
Served it with choy sum and brown rice. Beautiful!!!! Thank you!!!!!
    Ania
    Ania:
    My pleasure, Chrissy. I'm delighted you enjoyed it so much! x Ania
Ryvamo:
This might be the best meal i have ever made myself! I will eat this every week for the rest of my life.
It really is just perfect. The sauce is great and EXACTLY the right amount. Spot on!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks so much, Ryvamo! I'm delighted to hear that this dish was such a hit with you. Ania
Lucy:
"Spot on!" My other half commented. This is a really quick and easy meal to make. Packed full of flavour too. We chopped the aubergines into chunks first which cut down on cooking time. I'm always skeptical with recipes that include maple syrup as they can be so sweet, but the proportions of the ingredients in sauce worked extremely well. Thank you so much 😊
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Lucy,
    That's fantastic to hear that both you and your other half enjoyed this dish so much. And thanks so much for letting me know that it was a hit - much appreciated. Ania
Lisette van Oosterhout:
Yummie this was so good. I made these delicious eggplants this evening and I couldn't stop eating. So good and so easy to make. The only thing I changed up I made was that I already cut up the eggplant in smaller pieces before I put them in the oven.
Every now and then we have an eggplant-week: I cook every night a meal with eggplant, but every evening something else. Next time these gochuang eggplants are in!
thanks you for your lovely recipes, Ania!
    Ania
    Ania:
    My pleasure, Lisette! I am so happy to hear that you enjoyed it. And thanks so much for taking the time to let me and other readers know that you've made it and liked it enough to make again - much appreciated. x Ania
Kasia:
Czesc Ania,
Made it yesterday for dinner and it was delicious and super easy. Thank you! Ania would you consider taking on gochujang recipe? All the teady pastes are terrible in ingredients and the traditional recipe is way too complicated. It would be great to have a recipe with no soy , no corn or nasty sweeteners. Kasia
    Ania
    Ania:
    Delighted to hear that you enjoyed it, Kasia. I wasn't planning on it as I didn't think anyone would bother making one from scratch, but sounds like it may be worth looking into. I will see what I can do, thanks for the suggestion. x Ania
Jill:
I love eggplant and have been craving it. Baba ghanoush was going to make an appearance until I saw this recipe. It was perfect! Baking the eggplant worked so well and was hands off. I hate ordering eggplant out as it's always soaked with oil and mushy. Smitha asked for a date night recommendation and I think soup would be a great starter. Your miso pumpkin soup would be great and also seasonal.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks Jill, I'm delighted to hear that you enjoyed my slightly oil-phobic version ;) I hear you, you can really ruin an eggplant by using too much oil/oil at incorrect temperature. Yes, great idea - soup would work well. Ania
Smitha:
I want to make this for date night -what would recommend as a starter/side?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Smitha,
    Perhaps you could serve it with some greens, like tenderstem broccoli, pak choi, spinach (steamed or stir-fried) drizzled with a sesame dressing like in this recipe. I hope that's what you were after and that you will enjoy. Ania
Tina Hofmann:
Oh man, this looks so yum!! I'm fasting for a few days, so I can't wait to try it out!!! Eggplants are easily available here in Greece , hopefully cilantro will still be on the market, as I think that is absolutely essential :)
    Ania
    Ania:
    Aw thank you! I hope you'll enjoy it and you could probably do without cilantro but I do love the freshness it adds (cilantro fiend here :) ). Ania
Judy:
I'm in! Just added eggplant to my grocery list (not that I ever really need inducement to do so as it's one of my favorite veggies), because this recipe looks heavenly. Thank you, as always, for making it so easy for me to cook wonderful meals.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Aw, thank you for your kind words, Judy! I hope you'll enjoy it! Ania
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