Korean Eggplant Deopbap. Who’d have thought of steaming eggplant with rice. It doesn’t sound too appetizing – at all! But the two ingredients pair wonderfully. As the eggplant steams, it releases its natural juices into the rice. It continues to break down in the steam and turns into soft, chewy morsels. Looks alot like mushrooms actually. With a few scoops of flavored soy sauce drizzled over the top, this simple dish transforms into something incredible. Pair eggplant deopbap with a few banchans and you got yourself a healthy, nutritious meal!
The key step is the initial stir-fry. It makes the eggplant release its moisture and soak-in the spring onion-flavored oil and soy sauce. Then as it cooks with the rice, the stir-fried eggplant release all of that flavor back into the rice.
Overall, I think this eggplant deopbap is one of the best rice dishes we’ve had. It’s simple, nutritious and tasty. Gah – we’re excited for you to try at home!
Cooking notes: The minced meat is optional. If you’re vegetarian, skip it – tastes good without it. Also, use short-grain rice if you got it. The sticky short-grain rice absorbs the flavor and aroma of the ingredients much better.
Alrighty, ya’ll. Dan-yul out! 😛
This dish is originally from Chef Baek Jong Won.
Eggplant Deopbap with Soy Sauce Topping
Yield 4 servings
Make a savory, aromatic rice with eggplant
- Short-grain rice - 2 cups
- Water - 1.75 cups
- Eggplant - 2 whole
- Minced pork (or beef) - 1/2 a cup (optional)
- Spring onion - one stalk (forearm length)
- Soy Sauce - 3 Tablespoons
Soy Topping Sauce
- Soy Sauce - 3 Tablespoons
- Mirim - 1 Tablespoon
- Gochugaru - 1 Tablespoon
- Honey - 1/2 Tablespoon
- Sesame oil - 1 Tablespoon
- Sesame seeds - 1/2 Tablespoon
- Spring Onion - 2 Tablespoons (optional)
- Asian chives - few stalks (optional)
- Chili Pepper - 1/2 a whole (optional)
- Rinse your rice (2 cups worth) under running water.
- Then take out a mixing bowl. Fill it with cold water and let the rice soak in it for 15 minutes.
- In the meanwhile, let's prep: Cut each eggplant in half and dice into half-moon slices. Next, cut your spring onion stalk into thin slices. Finally, measure about 1/2 cup of minced meat.
- After 15 minutes, pour the soaking rice through a sieve and empty out the water. Place the hydrated rice into your rice cooker bowl. Measure 1.75 cups of water and place into rice cooker bowl. Set aside.
- Place a frying pan on medium-high heat. Put a good amount of oil in (~2 Tablespoons)
- Once the oil is hot, place the spring onion pieces in. Let the spring onion dance in the oil for 1 minute - it will give the oil good flavor.
- Next, add in the minced meat and stir-fry it until there is no more pink in the meat. (Note: If you're not using meat, skip to next step).
- Now, add in the chopped eggplant and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add-in your Soy Sauce (3 Tablespoons). Stir-fry everything for 1-2 minutes, or until the eggplant starts to wilt. Turn off the heat.
- Use a wooden spoon and scoop the stir-fry into your rice bowl. (Note: Don't fill the rice bowl to the top - leave some room as the rice will rise)
- Press start and get your rice cooking.
Make Sauce & Other Banchans
- To make the topping sauce, mix together: Soy Sauce (3T), Mirim (1T), Gochugaru (1T), Honey (1/2T), Sesame Oil (1T), Sesame Seeds (1/2T). You can also throw in some chopped spring onions (optional), asian chives or minced chili peppers (1/2 a pepper) to the sauce to add extra flavor.
- Next, make some of your favorite banchans. We made Korean Rolled Omelette and Korean Seasoned Spinach.
- When the rice cooker is finished, open it and give the rice a good mix. Make sure to mix the toppings on the top with the rice on the bottom.
- Place a few scoops of the mixed rice into individual bowls. Before serving, take a few spoonfuls of the soy topping sauce and drizzle it over the rice
- Bon Appetit!