Stove-Top “Stewed” Japanese Vegetables

TheGreenTurnip Score: 7

Where I used to live, my housemate was studying to become a chef, which means that he knew lots more about proper cooking techniques than I did. We often traded notes on cooking and he shared yummy treats he made in school.

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One day, he came home and I was making this recipe. He asked me what was on the menu that week. I said it was Japanese “ratatouille.” He looked at me cooking all the veggies together on the stove top and laughed. “THAT is not a ratatouille!!”

Yes… I know that ratatouille typically involves vegetables individually sautéed and then beautifully layered into a dish to be baked in the oven. Alas, most Japanese kitchens don’t have ovens!

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This recipe cleverly adapts the flavor of oven-roasted ratatouille vegetables to simple stovetop cooking.

Even if you have an oven in your kitchen, this recipe is quick to prepare and a nice alternative to waiting for veggies to bake in the oven. It is much less work than a real ratatouille! Plus, you don’t have to turn on your oven, which is a blessing during warm summer months.

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This salad recipe is delicious, even though it only vaguely resembles an authentic ratatouille! The vegetables are fragrant from bay leaves and slices of fresh garlic. The mushrooms add a nice savory flavor and almost meaty bite. The flavor does not compete too much, so it would pair well with spicier meat dishes, curries, or fish.

This recipe makes enough for a week’s worth of medium portions for 1 person (about 10 medium portions).

Ingredients

Plum tomato, 2

Yellow bell pepper, 1

Green onions, 2-3

Mushrooms, 1 cup

Eggplant, 1 (smallish)

Garlic, 2 cloves, thinly sliced

Bay leaves, 2

Salt, ½ teaspoon

Soy sauce, a dash

Olive oil, 2 tablespoons

  1. Cut the tomato in half and scoop out the seeds. Cut into bite-sized pieces.
  1. Cut the bell pepper and eggplant into ¼ inch cubes. Cut the green onion into 1 inch long pieces. Remove the stem from the mushrooms and tear in half. (Read more about clever Japanese techniques to prep veggies without a knife!)
  1. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds (or until fragrant). Add the bell pepper, eggplant, and mushrooms. Cook until coated in oil and slightly tender (2-3 minutes).
  1. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves. Cover, reduce heat slightly, and let steam for 5 minutes. Add salt and soy sauce. Stir and remove from heat. Cover and store.

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Adapted from “ラタトゥイユ” from “作り置きサラダ”.

Want to learn more about simple, Japanese-inspired weekly meal prep? Read “What is Make Now & Eat Later”

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Come back on Monday! New recipes posted here every week.

Curious to learn more about my experiences in Japan? Check out my recent post on 4 Reasons to NOT Learn Japanese. Thanks for visiting!

 

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