Eating Seasonally with Chef Chie Owada: Autumn Edition

Steamed Eggplant with Eggplant Skin Tsukudani and Butter Ponzu

Ingredients & Method (Serves 2)

Quantity Ingredients
⅓ cup soy sauce
3 tbsp. + 1 tsp. lemon juice
¾ cup dried bonito flakes
(Steamed Eggplant)
1 large eggplant (American variety)
2 tsp. butter
(Eggplant Skin Tsukudani)
1 eggplant's worth eggplant skin and lid
1 tbsp. sake
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. + ½ tsp. sugar
a little sesame seeds
a little oil

(For the Ponzu)
  1. Prepare a clean container.
  2. Into the container, put the soy sauce, lemon juice (with as much peel as you like), and the bonito flakes.
  3. Marinate for at least 24 hours.
  4. Strain through a sieve lined with a paper towel.

(For the Steamed Eggplant)
  1. Separate the eggplant into the flesh, skin, leaves, and top. Discard the leaves as they have thorns.
  2. Soak the eggplant and pieces in water for 5–10 minutes to remove bitterness.
  3. Place the flesh into a steamer and steam (approx. 20 to 25 minutes, adjusting for size.)
  4. Cut into bite-sized pieces and plate.

(For the Eggplant Tsukudani)
  1. Cut the skin and top into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Fry them well in a little oil in a frying pan.
  3. Add the sake, sugar, and soy sauce and cook for about 1 minute. Garnish with sesame seeds and assemble the final dish.


Tips from Chef Owada!

  • Eat every part of the eggplant. The flesh is full of water, potassium and fibre, while the skin and tops have polyphenols. It is good for your health during the changing seasons. Eat it all, without wasting anything!
  • When soaking the eggplant to remove bitterness, limit the time to 10 minutes. Any longer, and the nutrients will dissolve into the water.
  • Steam the eggplants immediately before eating. Soften the butter at room temperature before using it to top the piping hot eggplant. Enjoy the changing flavor as the butter melts and combines with the ponzu.

Sake Pairing: Karahashi (Junmai Ginjo) -- Fukushima

Karahashi (Junmai Ginjo) -- Fukushima
This sake has a gorgeous aroma reminiscent of pear, and is soft and gentle on the palate, yet has a strong aftertaste. It pairs perfectly with the juicy steamed eggplant and ponzu infused with rich butter and bonito flakes!