Rukmini’s Korean Style Aubergines
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
200g basmati rice, rinsed
2 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
2 leeks, or 1 small Chinese cabbage, thinly sliced
400ml vegetable stock
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 aubergines, cut into 1 1⁄2 cm slices
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
3 fat spring onions, very thinly sliced
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
15g Korean red pepper flakes (gochugaru)
30ml sesame oil
30ml rice vinegar
30ml soy sauce
5cm ginger, grated
1 clove of garlic, finely grated
Veg Portions / Serving: 1
Recipe from The Roasting Tin Around the World (Square Peg) by Rukmini Iyer. Photography by David Loftus.
In the traditional Korean dish, aubergines are steamed for just 7 minutes before you gently stir in the red pepper and sesame dressing. In this version, I let the oven steam the aubergines, while fresh basmati rice and cabbage cook underneath for a simple and filling all-in-one dish. Gochugaru, or Korean red pepper flakes, are easily available online, at specialist shops, and even miraculously on Amazon – they really make the dish, and once you have a jar, you’ll find yourself scattering the flakes on everything (scrambled eggs are my favourite).
Preheat the oven to 210°C fan/230°C/gas 8.
Tip the rice and garlic into a wide lidded casserole dish or a medium roasting tin, then evenly cover with the sliced leeks or Chinese cabbage. Pour over the vegetable stock and sesame oil, then lay the aubergines over the top in one layer. Scatter over the sea salt, cover with the lid or very tightly with foil (this is important or the rice won’t cook properly), then transfer to the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, mix the dressing ingredients together. As soon as you take the tin out of the oven, remove the lid or foil and dress the aubergines with the red pepper dressing.
Scatter over the spring onions and sesame seeds and serve hot.
Kids who engage regularly with veg through veg-themed activities, such as arts and crafts, sensory experiences, growing and cooking are shown to be more likely to eat the veg they engage with. Encouraging kids to engage and play with veg is the handy first step to them developing a good relationship with veg and life-long healthy eating.
Kids in the kitchen
Let the kids own this recipe by assembling it themselves, and then scattering over the spring onions before serving.
While getting kids to interact with veggies for real and using their senses to explore them is best, encouraging hands off activities like arts & crafts, puzzles & games or at-home science experiments can be a great start, particularly for those who are fussier eaters or struggle with anything too sensory. Use these veg-themed activities as a stepping stone to interacting with the veg themselves. We have loads of crafty downloads here, puzzles here, and quirky science with veg here.
Once you feel your child is ready to engage a little more, you can show them how to explore the veg you have on hand with their senses, coming up with playful silly descriptions of how a veg smells, feels, looks, sounds and perhaps even tastes. Find ideas, videos and some simple sensory education session ideas to get you started here.
The moments before food is offered can be a perfect opportunity for engagement that can help make it more likely a child will eat it! Giving children a sense of ownership in the meal can make a big difference to their feelings going into it and the pride they take in it. You know your child best, but if you aren’t sure where to start, we have some fun and simple ideas for easy roles you can give them in the serving process over here.
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