Steamed Aubergines with Sesame Seeds

This is from a Golden Cooking Card book called Japanese Cooking. It’s from 1968. I also have one for Hawaiian Cooking, but so far everything I’ve looked at in there needs taro leaves and Nisa doesn’t do them.  I wasn’t sure whether I could blog this recipe – I did it somewhat ad hoc, being in need of a vegetable side, and having most of the ingredients to hand. I did omit the monosodium glutamate as that’s really not something I have. Reckon I might get some though, for future recipes from this book.


Now. Pretty much from the start I went a bit wrong with this recipe. I couldn’t quite envisage what the instructions for cutting up the aubergine were supposed to create, so I cut 1/4″ thin slices then halved these. Re-reading I see it’s describing strips of aubergine but I really could not work it out at the time. I spent a while thinking about this. The picture was no help/ genuinely off-putting:

(If I didn’t have such a deep-seated love for aubergine, sesame and soy this photo would have never enticed me into attempting this dish. But I love all three foods, and trusted in the great eggplant to see this to some tasty conclusion).

Quantities. I used a medium-large aubergine which definitely came to at least a quarter pound but I certainly didn’t use 5 tablespoons of sesame seeds, and subsequently reduced the soy and sugar amounts. Once you’ve boiled down your aubergine you’re left with a serving that, at a push, would be enough for two people – it’s not a lot of vegetable. That much soy etc struck even the soy loving me as deeply ill-advised. And it would have been  – even at reduced amounts this was too salty a sauce. The sesame was overpowered, the aubergine struggled, hell, even I struggled. And it has no right to describe itself as ‘steamed’. It’s boiled! I refuse to consider that the addition of monosodium glutamate would have made this situation any better. It would not have.

This dish has a lot of potential – the ingredients are all good, and with a lighter touch it would have been delicious. I had it with some sashimi salmon.

Nasu goma-ae’d by Alix.

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One response to “Steamed Aubergines with Sesame Seeds

  1. You know, I have noticed this about vintage recipes too- the ingredient amounts frequently seem off- kilter. The odd flavor pairings are fine, I like trying them, but the proportions of secondary ingredients and sometimes seasonings require some adjustments or I’d be the only one eating them.