A traditional Japanese meal consists of rice, miso soup, a protein (usually fish), and two or three side dishes. Since the rice, soup, and protein don't change that much, the part of the meal that excites me the most is the side dishes.
This poached eggplant is a variation on my Dashi Poached Tomato, but I thought it was different enough (and delicious enough) that it warranted its own recipe. Eggplant is usually best fried to make it creamy, but poaching it in dashi makes it melt-in-your-mouth tender and infuses it with loads of flavor.
To add a little excitement, I like to add some sour umeboshi (pickled plums) to the braising liquid. This not only adds a zingy tang to the eggplant but also contributes some salt to the dashi, which makes the umeboshi a little tamer.
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