Kimchee Sauce (+ Eggplant Melt)
July 28, 2011 § 8 Comments
Indulge me while I tell you a story about my friend Dan. He’s a handsome fellow, with marked intelligence and a myriad of talents. He’s dependable, trustworthy, loyal to a fault, has thick locks of hair that don’t seem to be falling out any time soon, and he does a fantastic British accent.* He does, however, suffer from a severe and malignant character flaw, namely, he truly believes that ketchup is the best condiment. And I pity him for that.
Imagine the worst perpetrator of ketchup abuse you know. Dan’s problem is so much worse than that. When we go to fast food restaurants together, Dan clears the condiment area of all the ketchup packets and hoards them at the table. He then proceeds to squirt not one, not two, but FIVE packets of ketchup on a single fry. Not on a burger, a fry. I didn’t even realize it was possible, but Dan attends a very fancy private college where I think they teach him physics secrets so that he can attain his ketchup nirvana.
Don’t get me wrong, if there is a hot basket of fries and nothing else on the table except the ubiquitous red bottle of generic ketchup and the ominous yellow bottle of weird mustard, I will resignedly succumb to my fate. But sauces could be so much more! Ketchup is boring, and usually too sweet and tasteless. Instead, sauces could have zippiness, or aristocratic tendencies, or an upright posture. No longer do you have to cower under the reign of ketchup; usurp the power of ketchup now! and make the Special Sauce.
The special sauce uses my best friend KIM CHEE, which lends its spicy, savory, and slightly sour taste to the sauce. Blend that up with a creamy bechamel, charred red onions, and cilantro, and you have something that hits all the right notes. Or, at the very least, you have something that is more interesting than ketchup.
Pour this over some simple roasted potatoes and grilled sliced eggplants and green onions for the eggplant melt dish that you see pictured. The sauce complements both of them beautifully!
– 2 tablespoons Earth Balance
– 2 tablespoons flour
– 1 1/2 cups unsweetened soy milk
– 3/4 cup kim chee, extra spicy (if not extra spicy, add a pinch of cayenne)
– 2 cloves garlic
– 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
– 1/2 red onion, sliced and grilled
– a pinch of salt + pepper
1. In a pot over medium heat, melt the Earth Balance, then whisk the flour in. Add the soy milk slowly (about 5 increments worth), whisking after every addition, until the sauce is smooth. This is your bechamel base!
2. Dump the kim chee, garlic, and onion in, then cook for about 2 minutes, until the sauce is thickened.
3. Blend this in your blender until smooth, then return to the heat and thicken up the sauce a little bit more. Add salt and pepper to taste, and fold in the raw cilantro.
For the sliced eggplant, I sliced my eggplant laterally into 1/2 inch rounds. I grilled them over medium heat in some sesame oil and a drizzle of soy sauce for about 10-15 minutes, flipping every so often, until they were soft and cooked throughout. I also threw some sliced green onions on the pan in the last five minutes to get burnt and toasty.
* p.s. He’s single, come and get him!