Baek Jong Won’s Eggplant Rice (Gaji Bap)

Baek Jong Won's Eggplant Rice - Gaji Bap

A few weeks back, my brother sent our family a recipe and told us we MUST try it. Now, this is pretty out of the norm for my 30-something brother living the life out on the west coast. No, not out of the norm, a first ever? It must be an a-m-a-z-i-n-g dish?! This recipe actually went viral earlier in the year after being showed off on a Korean cooking show (Jib Bap Baek Sun Saeng) but I had not been compelled to try it. Taking a second look through the recipe it seemed super easy – just saute the eggplants and cook it in the rice cooker as you would normally cook rice. What could be so good? To be honest, it didn’t look out of this world either – just very simple.

eggplant-rice-front
Well, let me assure you, it’s really good. As the eggplants cook with the rice in the rice cooker, a delicious light scent of soy sauce will travel throughout your home. The slightly soft but chewy eggplant mixed in with hot rice is particularly perfect for a day you don’t want to eat something too heavy but still want a warm and hearty meal. Not to mention, it is super easy to make.
Ingredients: 
Eggplant Rice
  • 2 Japanese or Chinese Eggplants (if you don’t have any on hand 1 – 1.5 Italian Eggplants)
  • 2 cups of uncooked rice
  • 1/2 stalk of large green onions or 1 stalk of standard green onions/scallions
  • 4 Tbsp of olive oil
  • 1.5 Tbsp soy sauce (original recipe calls for 2 Tbsp of soy sauce but it was slightly too salty for me but if you enjoy a more seasoned taste, add in 2 Tbsp)
  • Optional: 1/2 cup of ground pork (use 2 Tbsp of soy sauce if adding pork)
Soy Sauce Side Dressing
  • 1/4 cup green onions
  • 1/4 cup chives (use 1/2 cup of either/or if that’s only what you have)
  • 1 spicy green pepper (serrano peppers)
  • 1 Tbsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 Tbsp sugar (or honey/rice syrup)
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds (if you have on hand)
eggplant-rice-from-top
Directions 
The eggplant to rice ratio is 1:1 if using an Asian Eggplant. Japanese or Chinese Eggplants are slightly slimmer and longer than Italian Eggplants. I tried the recipe with both and enjoyed both. If using Italian eggplants, it rounds out to be about 3/4 the eggplant per cup of rice but really, this recipe is very forgiving and if you use less or more, you’ll just have more or less eggplants in your rice!
Wash the rice and soak in water for at least 30 minutes.
Slice the eggplants to about 1 cm (0.4 in) thick and then slice them in half to make half-moon shapes. Thinly chop the green onions or scallions. (Scallions half a milder taste, I prefer the large green onions for more of a kick but these are usually only found in Asian grocery stores).
eggplant rice with chinese eggplants
In a medium sized frypan, place in 4 Tbsp of olive oil and heat over medium heat. Once the oil is warm, add in the green onions and continue to saute over medium heat until an aroma of green onions fills the air – just a few minutes. In this step, you are essentially making green onion oil to later deepen the flavor of the eggplants.
If you are adding in the ground pork – you can add that next and saute until the pork is cooked through (before burning) before you add the eggplants.
eggplant rice saute green onions
Next, add in the eggplants and stir fry over medium heat in the green onion oil. The eggplants will really quickly soak up all the oil, do not worry here – this is normal. Continue to heat over medium heat until the eggplants seem to soften. Add in the soy sauce to the outsides of the fry pan and let the soy sauce drip into the center of the pan to evenly coat all the eggplant.  Continue to stir fry until the eggplants start to look wilted and the soy sauce is evenly coated on the eggplants. Turn off heat and set aside for a moment.
eggplant-rice-raw-eggplant eggplant-rice-cooking
eggplant rice
For the rice, you’ll want less than usual because eggplants have so much liquid which will seep out during the cooking process. In a rice cooker, I found putting enough rice to emerge all the rice and just slightly more was best.
eggplant rice in rice cooker
If you’re rice cooker has a “brown rice” function, set on this and start!
While the rice is cooking, finely dice the large green onions, chives and peppers. If you only have one or the other of the green onions or chives that will work as well. If you’re not good with spicy, feel free to omit the peppers. I love a kick of spice so upped the sauce. Add in all the rest of the ingredients with the soy sauce going in last and let the ingredients soak into the soy sauce. The flavors will deepen as the chives and green onion flavors seep into the soy sauce.
eggplant-rice-sauce eggplant-rice-sauce-2
Once the rice is all cooked, mix the eggplant rice together and serve in bowls with the soy sauce on side. Enjoy each bite with a dip of the extra sauce and it will be delicious. A bite and chewy texture from the eggplants with steamy hot rice and a kick of salty spiciness from the side soy sauce. A very healthy but very easy meal!
eggplant-rice-in-cooker eggplant-rice-in-cooker-mixed
eggplant-rice-closest
And here’s a clip from the show. One of the tasters looks like he went to heaven!
eggplant_rice_clip
eggplant_rice_clip_2

 

Korean Baek Jong Won's Eggplant Rice - Gaji Bap - 가지밥
Print Recipe
Baek Jong Won's Eggplant Over Rice (Gaji Bap 가지밥)
Korean Baek Jong Won's Eggplant Rice - Gaji Bap - 가지밥
Servings
2 people
Ingredients
Eggplant Rice
Soy Sauce Side Dressing
Servings
2 people
Ingredients
Eggplant Rice
Soy Sauce Side Dressing
Korean Baek Jong Won's Eggplant Rice - Gaji Bap - 가지밥
Instructions
Eggplant Rice
  1. Wash the rice and soak in water for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Slice the eggplants to about 1 cm (0.4 in) thick and then slice them in half to make half-moon shapes. Thinly chop the green onions or scallions. (Scallions half a milder taste, I prefer the large green onions for more of a kick but these are usually only found in Asian grocery stores).
  3. In a medium sized frypan, place in 4 Tbsp of olive oil and heat over medium heat. Once the oil is warm, add in the green onions and continue to saute over medium heat until an aroma of green onions fills the air - just a few minutes. In this step, you are essentially making green onion oil to later deepen the flavor of the eggplants.
  4. Optional: If you are adding in the ground pork - you can add that next and saute until the pork is cooked through (before burning) before you add the eggplants.
  5. Next, add in the eggplants and stir fry over medium heat in the green onion oil. The eggplants will really quickly soak up all the oil, do not worry here - this is normal. Continue to heat over medium heat until the eggplants seem to soften. Add in the soy sauce to the outsides of the fry pan and let the soy sauce drip into the center of the pan to evenly coat all the eggplant. Continue to stir fry until the eggplants start to look wilted and the soy sauce is evenly coated on the eggplants. Turn off heat and set aside for a moment.
  6. For the rice, you'll want less than usual because eggplants have so much liquid which will seep out during the cooking process. In a rice cooker, I found putting enough rice to emerge all the rice and just slightly more was best. If you're rice cooker has a "brown rice" function, set on this and start!
Soy Sauce Side Dressing
  1. While the rice is cooking, finely dice the large green onions, chives and peppers. Add in all the rest of the ingredients with the soy sauce going in last and let the ingredients soak into the soy sauce. The flavors will deepen as the chives and green onion flavors seep into the soy sauce.
Serve!
  1. Once the rice is all cooked, mix the eggplant rice together and serve in bowls with the soy sauce on side. Enjoy each bite with a dip of the extra sauce and it will be delicious. A bite and chewy texture from the eggplants with steamy hot rice and a kick of salty spiciness from the side soy sauce. A very healthy but very easy meal!

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