Open sesame eggplant

Categories: Asian, Damp Heat in the Lower Jiao, Heart Blood Stagnation, Heart Disease, Large Intestine Damp Heat, Large Intestine Fluid Vacuity, Liver & Gall Bladder Damp Heat, Spleen Damp Heat, Stomach Fire, Toxic Heat in the Blood, Urinary Bladder Damp Heat, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian, Yin Vacuity

OPEN SESAME EGGPLANT (2-3 servings)
by Catherine Marquis

Other Names: Solanum melongena, aubergine, qie zi
Eggplant is a vegetable of wide international origins, appearing in the cuisines of Europe,
the Middle East, South and East Asia, and North America. China and India are the world’s top
eggplant producers today. It is related to the potato, pepper, and tomato, part of the Solanaceae
(nightshade) family, and grows in climates ranging from tropical to temperate. Eggplants come
in many sizes, colors and shapes, (not only the pear-shaped dark purple variety) ranging from
small and white (literally resembling an egg) to green and round, to long and lavender.
When shopping for eggplant, you should select ones that are relatively heavy for their
size and use immediately if possible. It should be cooked thoroughly until soft and is difficult to
overcook. Eggplant’s texture and bulk can provide balance to a meal that is light or nonexistent
in meat. It is a good source of fiber, potassium, manganese, copper, thiamine, vitamin B6, folate,
magnesium and niacin. Scientific studies suggest that eggplant might be useful in preventing atherosclerosis
and heart disease. From a TCM perspective it addresses swelling, pain, hemorrhoids and breast
inflammation (mastitis) or sores.

  •  Ingredients
    3-4 tbsp dark sesame oil
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    1 med-sized eggplant (about 1 lb), cut into 1 inch cubes
    1 cup water
    1 tbsp rice wine
    1 ½ tbsp soy sauce
    1 tbsp sesame seeds

Preparation
1. Heat oil in a pan, and then add garlic and then eggplant. Cook until eggplant is golden brown
on all sides. (You may want to brown the eggplant in two batches to distribute the oil more
evenly, as the eggplant has a tendency to absorb it.)
2. Add water to the pan. Bring to a boil, then lower heat. Cover and cook for about 10 min.,
until soft.
3. Remove lid, and add rice wine and soy sauce. Cook, uncovered for another 3-5 min.
4. In the meantime, toast the sesame seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat until golden brown,
stirring or shaking frequently, about 5 min. When done, remove the seeds from the hot skillet
so they don’t overcook.
5. Transfer eggplant mixture to a serving dish and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. Serve
warm with a grain such as rice or quinoa if desired.
Variations
If preferred, you can boil or steam the eggplant for about 20 min., until soft, then add soy sauce,
sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds to taste.
TCM Ingredient Analysis
Sesame oil – cool, sweet; LI, LV, KD; down bearing, moisten intestines, laxative, detoxifies,
raise unsaturated fatty acids, lecithin and vitamin E, treats dryness in intestines, constipation,
digestive obstructions, blood and qi vacuity of LV and KD, weakness in muscles, skins and
bones
CONTRAINDICATED in excess conditions, weakens SP pancreas network, can cause diarrhea
Garlic – hot, acrid; anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, detoxify meat and seafood, kill worms,
remove stagnant food and blood, reduce abscesses, warm yang, dispel cold;
CONTRAINDICATED in hot or dry eye DOs, mouth sores, tongue ulcers
Eggplant –cool-cold, sweet; SP, ST, LI; clear heat, relieve toxicity, invigorate and cool blood
and break stasis, reduce swelling, relieve and stop pain, move qi and open chest, promote
diuresis; CONTRAINDICATED in cold conditions
Rice Wine –warm; move blood
Soy sauce – cold, salty; SP, ST, KD; harmonize middle jiao, clear heat, antidote to drug and food
poisoning, benefit KD, penetrate deeply
Sesame seeds – slightly warm, sweet; nourish LV & KD, lubricate intestines, blacken gray hair,
tonify body overall, benefit skin; grinding recommended because tough cell wall makes it
undigestable whole
Quinoa – warm, sweet, sour; strengthen entire body, tonify qi, warm yang)
Overall Recipe Analysis
This dish clears heat, moves and cools blood, moistens the intestines, reduces swelling, and eases
pain. It is especially good for anyone concerned about high cholesterol or those who wish to
counteract pain and swelling.
Patterns
Blood stasis, qi stagnation, cold or damp stagnation, qi and blood deficiency, ST heat, yin
deficiency, SP qi deficiency, KD yang deficiency