Eggplant Dip with Asian Spices

(3 votes)

2 pounds eggplant
1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons minced ginger
1 tablespoon minced scallion
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
4 to 5 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar or honey
1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
a splash of chili oil (optional)
a pinch of salt (optional)
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
For the Garnish
2 tablespoons minced scallion greens
1 teaspoon black sesame seeds or darkly toasted regular sesame seeds

Prick the eggplants in a few spots with a fork. (This keeps them from exploding.) Grill the eggplants over a medium flame, turning often, until the skin is charred on all sides (I mean really charred!) and the flesh is soft. Alternatively, the eggplant can be cooked on an open flame or electric burner on the stove (set the heat to medium), broiled, or baked in a 400º F. oven for about 1 hour. Let cool.

Using a paring knife, scrape the burnt skin off the eggplant. Puree the eggplant in the food processor, adding the garlic, ginger, minced white scallion, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, chili oil (if using), and salt (if desired). Correct the seasoning, adding vinegar, soy sauce, or chili oil to taste. Stir in the cilantro leaves and transfer the dip to a serving bowl. Garnish with scallion greens and sesame seeds and serve.

Makes 2 cups, enough to serve 8

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