- 4 small eggplants, each about 3 1/2 ounces (100g)
- 3 or 4 shiso leaves, finely shredded, optional
- 2 tablespoons pickled plum paste
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
1. Slice the eggplant lengthwise, then cut into bite-sized pieces and soak in water for about 5 minutes. Drain, and squeeze to remove excess liquid.
2. To make the dressing, combine the pickled plum paste, lemon juice, maple syrup, olive oil, and salt, and mix well.
3. Bring a pan of water to a boil, add the eggplant, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Alternatively, fry the eggplant in 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
4. Arrange the eggplant on a serving plate, and drizzle with the dressing. Granish with shredded shiso, if available.
Reprinted with permission from the book:
The Enlightened Kitchen: Fresh Vegetable Dishes from the Temples of Japan
While Japanese cuisine has become popular in the West, far less is known about the traditional fare originating from Japan's Buddhist temples. Natural and healthy, temple food is based on fresh seasonal vegetables, and staples such as grains and tofu. For centuries, these dishes have been a way of life - and a refreshing change of pace - for monks whose days are spent in rigorous self-discipline.
Mari Fujii delivers simple, seasonal foods with love and care. She teaches the importance of drawing out the natural flavors of ingredients rather than smothering with heavy sauces or spices. Any way you look at it, The Enlightened Kitchen is a nourishing experience for both body and soul.