Gaji namul is a Korean seasoned vegetable side dish — much like kongnamul muchim and sigeumji namul for which I’ve already posted recipes. (Notice the repetition of the word “namul” in these recipe names? It’s the Korean term for “seasoned vegetable.”)
Similar to kongnamul muchim and sigeumji namul, gaji namul is mixed with soy sauce, sesame oil and green onion for flavor. However, gaji namul is steamed, not sautéed. It is also not as popular a side dish as kongnamul muchim or sigumji namul, but I’m including it in my Korean Food Project because it is delicious and has a unique taste.
Gaji Namul (Seasoned Eggplant) — 가지나물
Makes 6 servings
- 6 small Asian/Japanese eggplants*
- 1 Tbsp. soy sauce**
- 1 Tbsp. vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. minced green onion (or scallions)
- 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
- Korean red pepper powder to taste (optional)***
*These eggplants are thinner than regular eggplants. (See photo above.) You can find them in Asian grocery stores.
**To make this recipe gluten free, I used San-J Organic Tamari Gluten-Free Soy Sauce (available at Whole Foods or for $6.69 + shipping on Amazon.com.)
***You can find plastic bags or canisters of Korean red pepper powder (called gochugaru in Korean) at Asian grocery stores or on Amazon.com for about $13 a pound. Gochugaru‘s consistency is between a coarse powder and a fine flake, so it is sometimes called red pepper powder or hot pepper powder and sometimes called red chili flakes. (See photo above.) I like spicy food, so I put 1 tsp. of gochugaru in my gaji namul, but you could completely omit this ingredient.
- Wash but do not peel eggplants. Remove calyx (green fuzzy part on top) and stem from each eggplant.
- Cut each eggplant lengthwise into 4 thin sections.
- Boil water in a pot, place the eggplant pieces in a steamer**** and steam the pieces for 7-8 minutes.
- Remove the steamer from the pot, place the eggplant pieces on paper towels and gently press out liquid.
- Cut the pieces into strips about the size of carrot sticks.
- Combine eggplant strips with other ingredients in a shallow bowl.
- Mix well and serve.
****I used a circular, 10-inch, bamboo steamer, like this one, placed on top of the pot.
[Recipe from “Korean Cooking”, an out-of-print cookbook created by the Korean Institute of Minnesota.]