Eggplant is like a sponge in its ability to absorb the flavors around it, and frying it renders it rich and creamy. Agebitashi takes advantage of both of these properties, turning the eggplant into juicy morsels that melt in your mouth. The green beans lend a pop of color while contributing a contrasting texture as well. This dish is best made in advance, making it a perfect side when you're having guests over.
- 2 cups dashi
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon mirin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 400 grams (14 oz.) Japanese eggplant
- 135 grams (5 oz.) green beans
- Oil for deep-frying
- Add the dashi, soy sauce, mirin, and salt to a saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil. Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool.
- Wash and dry the eggplants and green beans thoroughly with paper towels, as any remaining water will make them spatter in the oil.
- Trim the stems off of the eggplants, and cut them into 1-inch pieces. I usually cut them at a 45-degree angle and then turn them 90 degrees before cutting the next piece at a 45-degree angle. This cut is called rangiri.
- For the green beans, trim the ends off and cut them into 2-inch lengths.
- Heat 1-inch of frying oil in a heavy-bottomed pot to 340°F(170°C) and prepare a wire rack lined with several sheets of paper towels.
- Fry the green beans for about 30 seconds or until the skin just starts to wrinkle. Transfer them to the prepared rack and pat off any excess oil with additional paper towels.
- Fry the eggplant in batches, making sure the skins are submerged to preserve their color. The eggplants are done when you poke a toothpick through one without much resistance (about 1-2 minutes). Transfer them to the paper-towel-lined rack and pat off any excess oil with additional paper towels.
- Transfer the fried eggplant and green beans to the cooled dashi mixture and let them marinate for at least 2 hours. They will taste best after marinating for a day, but the color will fade a bit.