You can make oil free microwave eggplant with just eggplant and salt. Using the microwave is the easiest and quickest way to make eggplant tender and delicious.
I've made a lot of bland eggplant, squishy eggplant, and oily eggplant. The problem is that raw eggplant is bitter and spongy, so it tastes awful unless you cook it to death.
I dislike cooking eggplant on the stovetop or in the oven because the exterior always dries out before the eggplant has a chance to soften. To fix this, many guides on making delicious eggplant tell you to salt and drain the eggplant for at least 30 minutes before cooking.
However, you might as well cook the eggplant in a fraction of that time. Microwave eggplant gives you perfectly cooked and seasoned eggplant in 10 minutes.
After the eggplant is cooked and tender, you can add whatever seasonings you like. For a quicker take on yu xiang qie zi (Chinese spicy garlic eggplant), you can stir fry the eggplant after it's cooked. If you don't want to bother cooking it more, you can just add some soy sauce and sesame oil.
- 1 eggplant, diced (4 cups)
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- optional: chopped scallions for garnish
- Put the eggplant and salt into a large microwaveable bowl.
- Microwave for 5 minutes. Stir.
- Microwave for an additional 5 minutes.
- Let cool for 5-10 minutes before serving. Leftovers keep well in the fridge for a few days.
- Eggplant: I used 1 large globe eggplant. Alternatively, you could use 2-3 long and thin Japanese eggplants.
- Salt: Seasons the eggplant and draws out the bitter liquid. I used coarse-grained kosher salt. If you use table salt, you may want to reduce the quantity.
Step by Step Photos
Cutting eggplant is pretty easy. I guess the hardest part of the recipe is not hurting yourself on the hot bowl when you stir the eggplant halfway through. Glass bowls get really really hot!
Cut the eggplant into small bite-sized pieces. I cut off the stem, cut the eggplant into 4 thin slices, and then diced.
Put the eggplant and salt into a large microwaveable bowl. I had 4 cups of diced eggplant, so I used 1 teaspoon of salt. Salt according to the size of your eggplant.
Here's the eggplant and salt before any microwaving. Raw eggplant has a spongy, squishy texture, so we'll be cooking the heck out of it.
Microwave the eggplant for 5 minutes. Stir. The eggplant still looks spongy, but has shriveled up a bit.
Microwave for an additional 5 minutes. Eggplant releases a lot of liquid after cooking. The 4 cups of raw eggplant has shrunk to 2 cups of cooked eggplant.
If the eggplant is still spongy, first of all, you should probably get a new microwave. Try microwaving for another 5 minutes. If that doesn't work, I think your microwave is broken, and you can stir fry the half-cooked eggplant.
After being microwaved for 10 minutes, the eggplant will be really molten. Let cool for 5-10 minutes before serving unless you want to burn your tongue. Leftovers keep well in the fridge for a few days.
You can enjoy microwave eggplant plain - it's pretty addictive after you add soy sauce and sesame oil. Or, you can serve microwave eggplant alongside some tomato mushroom stir fry and leftover salsa rice for textural and color contrast.
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