I don’t consider myself an impulse shopper/buyer.
When I see something that calls my name, I start to ponder…
“Is this something I’ve been coveting? Why?
Is this something useful to me?”
These thoughts mostly occur when I go grocery shopping…
Not clothes, not shoes, not jewelry. It’s easy for me to say no to those.
Art, collectibles, books– at this point I can tell myself it’s just “stuff”. (Usually.)
But then I see something like Japanese eggplants at the farmer’s market.
And I think to myself,
“I must buy this, and I must make something with it. Here is my card, nice cashier girl.”
So then I’m driving home with Japanese eggplant, thinking about what’s going to happen to it.
Garlic, ginger, pepper…
Soy sauce, mirin, rice vinegar… And it needs a partner.
Regular tofu is overdone. Fermented tofu, while delicious and meaty, is too expensive.
Then I got kinda impulsive at the Japanese grocery store…
But it was cheap anyway.
Those chopsticks? Impulse from many moons ago.
Teriyaki Japanese Eggplant and Tempeh
Tempeh is an Indonesian invention of fermented soybeans compounded together. It’s naturally more flavorful and meatier than tofu, and better for digestion as well as the absorption of soy nutrients. Convenient? Yes. Can you use other types of eggplant? Yes. Can you use bottled teriyaki sauce? Yes. But then you can’t be my friend for a week.
two cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp ground ginger
black pepper to your liking
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)*
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
two medium Japanese eggplants (or one medium Italian eggplant, or the equivalent if using a different type)
one 8-oz package of plain tempeh
a few Tbsp of sesame oil
*Mirin adds sweetness. You can use pretty much any sweetener of choice in its place.
1) Prepare the teriyaki sauce. Combine the garlic through rice wine vinegar. Taste and adjust to your liking. You may want it sweeter, you may want more ginger, etc. Teriyaki doesn’t really have any rules. Set sauce aside.
2) Slice your eggplant and tempeh into equal sizes. Quarter to half inch slices are good. In a large non-stick skillet or wok, heat the sesame oil over medium-high heat. Add just the eggplant, and cook, stirring frequently, until it’s softened and has given up its moisture.
3) Add the tempeh and pour the teriyaki sauce in. Turn heat to medium low. Allow to simmer until the sauce has reduced, while stirring occasionally to ensure all the eggplant and tempeh slices are coated and have absorbed the sauce.
Serve alongside some brown rice, or noodles such as soba, udon, or shirataki! As you can see, I bought some Japanese rice seasoning, which comprises of sesame seed, dried vegetables and seaweed. Some varieties have dried fish or seafood as well. Awesome stuff and I recommend it if you can find it.
It’s not impulsive if it’s culturally enriching…