Continuing with the healthy Korean temple food theme, I am excited to share these gorgeous, easy-to-make, vegan eggplant rolls. In Korean, these rolls are called gaji mari (가지말이). Gaji is eggplant, and mari refers to rolled up dishes. The inspiration came from a recipe I found in a cookbook I recently purchased. The book, titled “12 Months of Temple Meals”, is authored by a Buddhist nun, Venerable Dae Ahn (대안스님), who is one of the masters of Korean temple cuisine.
The recipe in the book is very simple yet elegant! The thinly sliced eggplants are briefly cooked in a skillet, rolled up with sprouts, and served with a hot mustard sauce. I used alfalfa sprouts and added some thinly sliced red cabbage for color and crunch. I also made a soy-based sauce to provide another sauce option.
For the fillings, I played around with different vegetables such as colorful fresh bell peppers and enoki mushrooms. They turned out great! Carrots and cucumbers will be great additions as well.
Any long variety eggplants are fine for this recipe. Eggplants cook down significantly, so make sure they are not too slender. I used two beautiful eggplants I bought from the farmers’ market last weekend. It was perfect for these roll ups!
Eggplant Rolls (Gaji Mari)
- 2 Asian eggplants long and thick - see note
- 2 to 3 tablespoons of perilla or sesame oil or olive oil
- salt and pepper
Filling option 1
- 1 package of alfalfa sprouts or any sprouts
- 3 ounces of red cabbage thinly sliced
Filling option 2
- 1/4 red bell pepper
- 1/4 orange bell pepper
- 1/4 yellow bell pepper
- 1/4 green bell pepper
- 1 package of enoki mushrooms
Hot mustard sauce
- 2 teaspoons Korean hot mustard yeon gyeoja, 연겨자 or dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons vinegar
- 1 tablespoon rice syrup or sugar
- 2 tablespoon juice from grated pear or apple juice or 1 tablespoon Korean plum syrup
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon Korean plum extract or apple juice