Nasu no Tsukemono (Pickled Japanese Eggplant)

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I’m starting out this BAM with a simple nasu no tsukemono recipe that I refer to all the time. I like it because I can decide to make it on a whim and no one will ever know. Nasu also has a great texture even though it’s not crunchy but it still has a bite to it if you leave the skin on.

Ingredients (Servings 2)
1 nasu (Japanese eggplant) or 125 grams
1 tsp + a pinch of kosher salt
1/8 tsp sugar
sprinkling of ichimi togarashi (Japanese chili pepper)
Soy sauce (optional)

Directions
1) Cut the nasu lengthwise and slice into diagonal pieces.
2) Soak the nasu in water for about 20 minutes to remove the bitterness and harshness in the nasu. If you use a glass bowl or a white mixing bowl, you’ll see that the water turns brown.
3) Drain the nasu and add the salt and sugar. Massage the nasu with your hands and let sit for 5-10 minutes.
4) Test one nasu piece by gently and slowly squeezing out the water in your hand. If the nasu breaks then it’s not ready yet. Allow it to sit longer. If it’s ready, grab a handful of nasu and gently squeeze out most of the water.
5) Serve into small bowls or plates and sprinkle with ichimi togarashi and a splash of soy sauce.

Cut the nasu in half lengthwise and then in diagonal slices.
Nasu no Tsukemono_cut into slices

Soak in water to remove any aku or bitterness.
Nasu no Tsukemono_soak in water

Add salt and sugar and massage nasu. Let sit for 5-10 minutes.
Nasu no Tsukemono_add salt and sugar

Test the nasu by squeezing one gently in the palm of your hand.
Nasu no Tsukemono_test and squeeze one piece

Look at all that water from the nasu. Squeeze out most of the water but don’t squeeze it until it is dry.
Nasu no Tsukemono_water from one nasu

Serve in a small bowl or plate and sprinkle ichimi togarashi and add a splash of soy sauce.
Nasu no Tsukemono_serve and sprinkle with ichimi

Serve with Turkey Hijiki Niku Dango (Meat Ball), Negitama (Egg and green onion) Miso Soup and Rice.
BAM 31

Naomi Kuwabara
Naomi Kuwabara was born and raised in California but spent many summers in Japan growing up. She has spent time living in Hokkaido and Osaka, both meccas for Japanese cuisine. Her passion is cooking and sharing her experiences cooking Japanese food with others. Her blog Umamitopia is about her experiences cooking Japanese food. Her greatest inspirations are from her mother and grandmother. Her cooking adventures can be found at http://umamitopia.com.

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