sesame soy eggplant with soba noodles
Equipment: Large (5-quart) electric steamer, or equivalent large pot with lid and steamer basket, medium bowl, pasta cooking pot for soba noodles.
  • 2 T. soy sauce
  • 2 T. seasoned rice vinegar, such as Marukan in the yellow bottle
  • 1 T. freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 T. dark sesame oil (the kind that tastes like sesame)
  • 2 T. neutral oil, such as canola or grapeseed
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • ½ tsp. grated fresh ginger (optional)
  • Pinch of ground cayenne or Korean red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 medium Italian eggplants, about 2 lbs., skin on, halved lengthwise (or if using the large globe kind, cut into quarters)
  • 2 bundles soba (Japanese buckwheat) noodles
  • 5 oz. baby spinach
  • ¼ c. sliced green onions
  1. Steam the eggplant: Prepare your steamer or pot by adding water, then placing the halved eggplant cut side down in the steamer basket (making sure it doesn't touch the water). If using a pot, you'll bring it to a boil over high heat and then turn to low for steaming (covered with a lid), and if you're using an electric steamer, you'll cover it, turn it on and set the timer according to the appliance instructions. Steam for about 20-25 minutes, until the eggplant is quite soft. Once done, set aside to cool.
  2. Make the marinade: In a medium bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, seasoned rice vinegar, lime juice, sesame oil, canola or grapeseed oil, pressed garlic, grated fresh ginger (optional), and ground cayenne or Korean red pepper flakes (optional). Taste and add salt if needed. Once the eggplant is cool enough to touch, cut into ¾" slices, and stir into the marinade. Let rest for 1 hour.
  3. Make the soba noodles: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the soba noodles, and cook according to package directions (usually 4-8 minutes). Drain, add the eggplant with marinade, plus the baby spinach, and toss well (the residual heat will wilt the baby spinach). Garnish with sliced green onions. Enjoy!
Recipe by radish*rose at