Wine Braised Eggplant with Basil (And my technique for liking any food)

TheGreenTurnip Score: 7

This salad invites an unusual mix of flavors that play beautifully together. The braised eggplant is fragrant from white wine and sake, and ever so slightly sweetened with honey. A generous helping of fresh basil added at the last moment keeps its cheery color and gives the salad a springlike freshness.
Not a fan of eggplant? Well…

Of course, I would suggest trying this recipe! The eggplant is not bitter at all. As a kid, I hated the odd spongy texture of eggplant. The braising technique here ensures the eggplant has an even, a little bit chewy, (and to my mouth) unobjectionable texture!

Alternatively… Let me share my secret to liking any food.

My secret is a form of “exposure therapy.” And it is why I can eat yogurt today! (In fact, I had yogurt for breakfast this morning.)
“Exposure therapy” is a type of behavioral theory used to treat anxieties. Usually, this therapy involves safely exposing the patient to the feared object (or situation). It is a way of retraining your brain to un-associate feelings of fear with some object.
I did not exactly have a phobia towards yogurt… but I did really dislike it. Just smelling yogurt would make me a bit nauseous. That all changed in college.
As a junior, I decided that I needed to like yogurt.
I had heard about all the health benefits of the probiotics in yogurt. Also, it seemed like such an easy breakfast solution on busy mornings when I had early class. It took a year but through my own version of exposure therapy, I made yogurt palatable (and even enjoyable!).

Here is what I did to make myself like yogurt:

  • Month 1: I ate granola with just a small spoonful of yogurt.
  • Months 2-3: I increased the amount of yogurt and decreased the amount of granola to make it more yogurt-heavy.
  • Months 4-6: I began to regularly eat just yogurt, but only the fruit-on-the-bottom type. I made sure to stir it thoroughly so I got as much sweet fruity flavor as possible.
  • Month 7: I kept eating fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt but stirred it less, so that some fruity mixture was left on the bottom and I was eating more plain yogurt.
  • Months 8-9: I started to eat plain yogurt all by itself!

One academic calendar year later and I could eat yogurt!


Now, I am not sure this technique would work on all food. I tried it with oatmeal and had no success. I still do not like oatmeal with its bland beige color and weird gloppy texture. But it worked for yogurt! I wonder what food is next for me.

If you are not a fan of eggplant, why not try this recipe! You might just like it.


This recipe makes enough for a week’s worth of medium portions for 1 person

(about 10 medium portions).




Japanese-style eggplant, 4-5 (or substitute 1 regular eggplant)

Basil, a generous bunch

Sake, ½ cup

White wine, ½ cup

Honey, 1 tablespoon

Salt, 1 teaspoon

Whole black pepper corns, 6

Olive oil, 2 tablespoons

  1. Cut the top off the eggplant and cut lengthwise. Roughly chop the eggplant into bite-sized pyramid-shaped pieces. (Soak in water to remove bitterness.) Tear the basil leaves into bite-sized pieces.
  2. In a pan over medium-low heat, combine the sake, white wine, honey, salt, and whole black pepper corns. Once simmering, add the eggplant and cover. Gently simmer for 1 minute.
  3. Remove the top, lower the heat, and cook stirring. Once the liquid reduces and the eggplant looks like it has soaked up the sauce, add the basil and remove from heat.
  4. Drizzle olive oil over the top. Cover and store.


Adapted from“なすのカポナ−ダ”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”


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


7 thoughts on “Wine Braised Eggplant with Basil (And my technique for liking any food)

  1. Wordsummit says:

    I remember desperately trying to force myself to like olives because I thought they were good for me. Try as I might, I couldn’t make it happen until one day I caught a taste of something amazing in a salad and discovered that it was actually black olive. Ever since then the ‘switch’ turned on and I somehow became an olive eater.

    Liked by 1 person

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