Are you enjoying summer’s bountiful vegetables? In the summertime, Korean tables are full of vegetable side dishes. I’m growing cucumbers (oi, 오이) , zucchini (hobak, 호박), eggplants (gaji, 가지), perilla leaves(kkaennip, 깻잎), chili peppers, tomatoes, and garlic chives (buchu, 부추). I also go to the farmers’ market quite often, so there has been no shortage of summer vegetables in my house. Here’s one of my go-to, quick summer side dish made with eggplant!
You will need slender Korean/Asian eggplants for this recipe. They have tender skin and sweet flesh.
There’s another stir-fried eggplant side dish (gaji bokkeum, 가지볶음) on the blog. That one uses gochujang (Korean red chili pepper paste), so it’s a bit spicy. This is a mild version seasoned with soy sauce. You can use a little bit of oyster sauce too if you have it. It will add another layer to the flavors.
To add a pop of green color to the dish, I used a couple of green chili peppers for this recipe. I also find garlic chives (buchu) works really well with this dish. Sometimes, I also add a handful of mushrooms (oyster, king, or shiitake mushrooms). If you use more vegetables than the recipe calls for, be sure to add more seasoning.
The other summer vegetable side dishes in the first photo are oi bokkeum, kkaennip jjim, hobak bokkeum, yeolmu kimch, and hobakjeon.
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Gaji Bokkeum (Stir-fried Eggplant Side Dish)
- 1 medium Korean/Asian eggplant gaji (or 2 small), about 8 ounces
- 1/2 medium onion
- 2 small green chili peppers
- 2 garlic cloves thinly sliced
- 1 small thumb size ginger cut into short matchsticks
- cooking oil
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice wine or mirin
- 1 tablespoon corn syrup Korean oligodang, oligodang or 1 teaspoon sugar
- Pinch salt and pepper
- 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds
- Cut the eggplants lengthwise in halves. Then cut diagonally into about 1/4-inch thick slices. Thinly slice the onion, and slice the chili peppers diagonally. Mix the soy sauce, rice wine, and corn syrup (or sugar) in a small ball.
- Heat a pan with 1 tablespoon of cooking oil over medium high heat. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger, and stir-fry until fragrant. Add the eggplants and stir-fry, for a minute or two until they start to soften.
- Stir in the sauce mix, and then add the peppers.
- Continue to stir-fry until the eggplants are well coated with the seasoning and the pepper is slightly wilted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Turn the heat off. Drizzle the sesame oil over, and mix well again. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds to serve.