Steamed and Roasted Kamo Eggplant with Fried Bamboo Fungi and Enoki Mushrooms

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Serves

    8

Appears in

Quay

By Peter Gilmore

Published 2010

  • About

This is a fun and very textural vegetarian dish. Bamboo fungus is a type of mushroom that is grown in the bamboo forests of China. It is sold dried and is available at good Chinese grocery stores. The mushroom is hollow and a perfect vehicle for stuffing — I fill the mushroom with tofu and black sesame seeds but you could use different combinations. This dish is served with wonderful small kamo eggplants, which have very few seeds and a lovely flavour. I like to steam the eggplants before roasting them, which helps maintain a white soft flesh. The dish is accompanied by sesame-coated enoki mushrooms, palm heart, radish pods, garlic cream and seaweed floss.

Ingredients

  • 4 Japanese Kamo Eggplants (Aubergines)
  • 14 g (½ oz) Dried Wakame Seaweed
  • 20 ml (½ fl oz) Virgin Sesame Oil
  • 8 Dried Bamboo Fungi
  • 100 g ( oz) Silken Tofu
  • Fine Sea Salt
  • 50 g ( oz) Black Sesame Seeds, Ground
  • 100 ml ( fl oz) Garlic Cream
  • 430 ml (15 fl oz) Grapeseed Oil
  • 50 g ( oz) Prepared Japanese Seaweed (Jyuntoro)
  • 200 g (7 oz) Trimmed Fresh Palm Heart
  • 200 g (7 oz) White Sesame Seeds, Roasted
  • 200 g (7 oz) Enoki Mushrooms
  • 100 g ( oz) Rice Flour
  • 32 Asian Radish Pods
  • 2 Bunches Garlic Chive Flowers

Method

Put the eggplants into a vacuum bag with the wakame seaweed and sesame oil. Seal the bag in a vacuum sealer and steam in a temperature-conrolled combi oven at 90°C (195°F) for 20 minutes. Alternatively, use a zip-lock bag and steam in a steamer. Allow the eggplant to cool in the bag.

Soak the dried bamboo fungi in cold water for 5 minutes, changing the water three times. Remove the fungi and squeeze out the excess water with your hands, then dry well. Chop the silken tofu into 1 cm (½ inch) dice, put into a bowl and season with a little sea salt. Add the ground black sesame seeds and mix lightly. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag and fill the hollow of each bamboo fungus with the tofu mixture. Refrigerate the stuffed bamboo fungi until required. Make the garlic cream.

To make the seaweed floss, heat 350 ml (12 fl oz) of grapeseed oil in a small saucepan to 180°C (350°F). Add the Japanese seaweed and deep-fry in batches for 30 seconds until the seaweed is light golden in colour. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a kitchen cloth. Reserve the oil.

Slice the palm heart on an angle into thin slices and put aside. Finely chop the white sesame seeds and put aside. Trim the enoki mushrooms, leaving 5 cm (2 inches) of stem. Put the rice flour into a bowl and wet with just enough water to make a light, thin batter. Place the bamboo fungi in the batter to lightly coat, then roll it in the chopped sesame seeds, and put aside. Do the same with the enoki mushrooms.

To Finish and Plate

Place a small pan of water on to boil and blanch the radish pods for 30 seconds, then drain. Cut the eggplant into quarters and pan-fry, in batches, in a large non-stick frying pan in 80 ml ( fl oz/ cup) of grapeseed oil until golden brown. Strain the oil used to deep-fry the seaweed and place in a clean saucepan, then bring back up to deep-frying temperature. Deep-fry the stuffed bamboo fungi until golden brown. Remove from the oil and drain on a kitchen cloth. Deep-fry the enoki mushrooms until golden brown, then remove and drain. Reheat the seaweed broth, add the palm heart and simmer for 1 minute.

On each serving plate, place two quarters of the eggplant. Slice each bamboo fungus in half with a bread knife to expose the tofu, and place on the plate. Add a spoonful of garlic cream, place the sesame-coated enoki mushrooms on top and add the palm heart. Garnish with the fried seaweed floss, garlic chive flowers and radish pods. Add a couple of spoonfuls of the white tea and seaweed broth and serve immediately.

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