Steamed Eggplant (Gaji Namul) is made by tossing the steamed eggplant in delicious Korean soy sauce seasoning. It is healthy and simple to make.
Steamed Eggplant or Gaji Namul is not a dish when I liked when I was a kid. It’s because I was very sensitive to the texture of foods when I was little. Anything that’s too mushy or too chewy, too gummy or too gooey – my stomach could not take it. And most often than not, eggplants were cooked too long and it was just too mushy for my taste.
I have gotten much less picky about texture as I got older but I am still not a big fan of hwe(회)/raw fish/sashimi mostly because of its texture. I have no problem eating raw things – I love raw abalone because they have a very interesting texture when raw – slightly slippery but soft on the outside and chewy + hard on the inside. But raw fish, I keep chewing and chewing but it has a hard time going down my throat. In fact, it wants to come back out a lot of times.. 😉
However, after coming to Korea, I have learned that if the fish is absolutely fresh, the texture is much more firm and I can stomach it much better. But honestly, I am still not a huge fan of raw fish. 😉
Back to eggplants.. so ever since I visited the wonderful countryside of Italy’s Montepulciano several years ago, my thoughts about eggplant have totally changed. The vacation home we stayed in had its own vegetable garden and I got to cook and taste fresh eggplant picked right from the garden. It was just simply amazing!! Perhaps this is when my dream of combining farming and cooking started. The taste was so amazing that I wanted to share with people how absolutely different tasting a dish could be when fresh, fully ripened ingredients are used.
Now, let’s get started!
Steamed Eggplant (Gaji Namul) Recipe
Servings: 2-3 Prep Time: 5 min Cooking time: 10 min Difficulty: easy
Ingredients – SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW
- Wash eggplants. Cut off the top part and then lengthwise in half. For quicker steaming, you can cut the eggplants into smaller pieces before they are steamed. It works but it’s just not the same – more flavor will be lost when the pieces are smaller.
- Steam eggplants for about 10 min or 5 min after water starts to boil.
- Until eggplant is easily pierced with chopstick with no resistance. Do not overcook eggplant and make it mushy – please. 🙂
- Make sauce by combining sauce ingredients.
- Once eggplants are steamed, cool for few minutes. Cut steamed eggplant halves into 2 or 3 shorter chunks. Tear each eggplant chunk into smaller pieces by hand – just like how mom’s made them for many years.
- Toss torn eggplant pieces with the sauce. Use your handy dandy plastic glove if you have one. Again, handle eggplant gently, do not bruise them.
Add green chili peppers and toss again.
- And that is all! Serve steamed eggplants or gaji namul at room temperature.
This steamed eggplant (gaji namul) is so good that you can even eat it just by itself and some rice. Or it’s great as a side dish to any Korean meal. Enjoy!
Steamed Eggplant Side Dish (Gaji Namul)A great side dish to any Korean meal, steamed eggplant is gently tossed with an aromatic sauce.Prep: 5 minutesCook: 10 minutesTotal Time: 15 minutesserves: 3 servings
- 8 oz eggplants (Asian long eggplant works best)
- 1 tsp dark soy sauce (Jinkanjang – Kikkomann or Korean sampyo)
- 1 tsp chopped garlic (maneul)
- 1 tsp sesame oil (chamkireum)
- 1 tsp sesame seeds (kkae)
- 1/4 tsp Korean gook kanjang (optional but adds incredible flavor)
- 1 tsp chopped green chili peppers (putgochoo)
- 1/4 tsp sugar (seoltang)
- 1/4 tsp Sea Salt (Trader Joe's) (Korean cheonilyeom)
- 1/8-1/4 tsp red chili powder (gochukaroo)
- Wash eggplants. Cut off the top part and then lengthwise in half. For quicker steaming, you can cut the eggplants into smaller pieces. It works but it’s just not the same – more flavor will be lost when the pieces are smaller.
- Steam eggplants for about 10 min or 5 min after water starts to boil. Cook until the eggplant is easily pierced with chopstick with no resistance. Do not overcook as it will turn mushy.
- Make the sauce by combining the sauce ingredients.
- Once the eggplant is steamed, allow to cool for a few minutes. Cut eggplant halves into 2 or 3 shorter chunks. Tear each eggplant chunk into smaller pieces by hand.
- Toss the torn eggplant pieces with the sauce. You may use plastic gloves. Handle the eggplant gently, do not bruise them.
- Add green chili peppers and toss again.
- Serve at room temperature. Enjoy on its own or with rice.
Nutrition Information:Calories: 41kcal (2%)| Carbohydrates: 5g (2%)| Protein: 1g (2%)| Fat: 1g (2%)| Sodium: 283mg (12%)| Potassium: 173mg (5%)| Fiber: 2g (8%)| Sugar: 3g (3%)| Vitamin A: 40IU (1%)| Vitamin C: 2.4mg (3%)| Calcium: 13mg (1%)| Iron: 0.3mg (2%)