On a recent television show, which showcases the odd & mysterious cuisines from different prefectures in Japan, there was nasu kabayaki.
When one hears the word "kabayaki", most often one would think of unagi kabayaki (grilled eel).
Nasu Kabayaki is popular in Gunma prefecture. It is served just like unagi in a lacquered box, at the bottom is rice, next come slices of teriyaki chicken, on top, the grilled eggplant.
The texture is sort of similar to unagi, but has less calories.
Kabayaki Sauce: adapted from the internet : makes 3/4 cup
75 mililiters mirin (sweet rice wine)
25 mililiters sake (rice wine)
62 grams brown sugar
90 mililiters shoyu (soy sauce)
In a pot, bring the mirin and sake to a boil
Add the sugar and shoyu
Bring mixture back to a boil then turn down heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
Transfer to a glass container and cool before putting into the refrige.
2-inch piece zucchini, thinly sliced
2-inch piece carrot, thinly sliced
1/2 package maitake, torn apart with fingers
1/4 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
Sautee veggies in a non-stick pan until they are cooked through, set aside.
Nasu Kabayaki (grilled eggplant): serves two
2 eggplants, peeled
2 tablespoons kabayaki sauce (see above)
sansho (Japanese pepper)
200 grams cooked rice
Cut the eggplant in half, lengthwise then make another cut in the middle lengthwise but not cutting all the way through.
Put it into a heated non-stick pan and drizzle some of the kabayaki sauce on it.
(Reserve about 1 teaspoon of sauce)
Flip eggplant over and drizzle a little more sauce.
When everything has caramelized a little, add a little water and cover.
Flip the eggplant and add a little more water. Cover the eggplant and cook. It should be soft but not too mushy.
Before serving, drizzle 1/2 a teaspoon onto the rice and top with eggplant and other veggies.
Sprinkle some sansho.
NOTES: this was good! Actually the original version uses a pastry "blow torch" to char the side not on your pan, but I thought that was a bit over the top to do in my kitchen, so I just kept flipping it over.
I served it with some tomato & onion miso soup. I'm definitely making this again.