Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Eggplant, meet Ramyun

My once shiny, deep purple eggplant had started to look rather pathetic at the bottom of my crisper drawer. So armed with this recipe for pan-fried eggplant spiced with ginger, turmeric, coriander, cumin, black pepper, garam masala, and dried red chili flakes, I decided to bite the bullet and cook the damn thing already.

But as usual, I was forced to improvise. I didn't have any of the spices named in the recipe except black pepper (and that pretty much makes up my entire "spice rack"). I thought just salt and pepper would be okay, though, because of Kindelsperger's description:

But it's the eggplant, not the spices, that is extraordinary. When done, the outside becomes crispy and crunchy while the insides turn luscious and velvety. It's my new favorite way to cook eggplant. The key is to use just a little oil and cook it for a long time—about 30 minutes in a pan over medium heat. It may sound crazy, but you can't argue with results like this.

Still, minus the Indian spices the recipe seemed terribly plain. I wanted to figure out how to add some bigger punch of flavor…and that's when I spotted the Shin Ramyun. Not the noodles, which I'd already eaten in soup, but the leftover packet of MSG-laden kimchi-ness that makes the ramen world go 'round.

I really probably shouldn't admit to these things.
But I did it. I followed the directions for preparing the eggplant, and substituted sprinkles of ramen flavoring for the spice mix specified in the recipe. And you know what, it was damn tasty, enough so that I quickly went back to the pan for more. The eggplant fried up as described, and though my pieces weren't all that crispy, the insides were definitely "luscious and velvety." Over a bowl of rice, all that kimchi-MSG'd eggplant disappeared in a flash.

I was pretty thirsty afterward….

Enter the giveaway!


  1. This looks delicious! Did you use Chinese eggplant or regular eggplant?

  2. What a great use for ramen flavorings. I have a drawer full of extra packets, maybe I'll use some for this!

  3. Gaga, cool! It's kind of a bizarre idea so I hope you find it to your liking. Use the seasoning sparingly—it's so salty you don't need very much.

  4. This made me laugh out loud - those msg-laden packets used to collect in my kitchen, and we started referring to them as "those damned salt packets." I've stopped buying ramen, but your recipe is enough to make me buy some, just to try the "damned salt packet" on some fried eggplant.


  5. It's not for the faint (or msg-adverse) of heart...but I'm glad I'm still inspiring someone to try the madness.