The default cooking procedure is to season the ingredients before and during cooking. With Japanese agebitashi, unseasoned food is fried then soaked in a sauce. In this mixed vegetables agebitashi, fried sweet potatoes, squash, eggplants and green beans were deep fried then soaked in a mixture of soy sauce, dashi and mirin.
Sounds strange? Keep an open mind because this vegetable dish is delicious. Just give the veggies enough time to bathe in the sauce and all will be well. In fact, you can keep this dish in the fridge overnight, take it out and allow to come to room temperature the next day and the vegetables will be even tastier.
Is it a vegetarian dish? It is meatless but because dashi is made with fish, it doesn’t really qualify as vegetarian, much less vegan.
Start by making the sauce. Mix the ingredients then pour the sauce into a wide shallow bowl.
Then, start frying the vegetables, one kind at a time. I began with the sweet potatoes because I wanted them to soak in the sauce longer before serving time.
Next came squash, the eggplants and, finally the green beans. Every batch of fried vegetables was dropped directly into the sauce.
When the last batch of vegetables (green beans) was in the sauce, I allowed everything to continue soaking while I fried fish to go with the mixed vegetables agebitashi.
If you like a little crunch and added aroma, you may sprinkle toasted sesame seeds on the vegetables before serving.
Mixed Vegetables Agebitashi
- 500 grams sweet potatoes
- 500 grams squash
- 3 to 4 large eggplants preferably Asian variety
- 200 grams green beans
For the sauce
- 1 packet dashi
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup mirin
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame seed oil
To complete the dish
- cooking oil for deep frying
- toasted sesame seeds to garnish
Prepare the vegetables
- Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into wedges.
- Scoop out the seeds of the squash and discard. Peel the squash and cut into wedges.
- Cut each eggplant into halves vertically. Cut into half-inch slices.
- Trim the ends and sides of the green beans.
Make the sauce
- Stir together all the ingredients for the sauce. Make sure that the dashi is completely dissolved.
- Pour the sauce into a wide shallow bowl.
Fry the vegetables
- In a wok or frying pan, heat enough cooking oil to reach a depth of at least three inches.
- Deep fry the vegetables, one kind at a time. Scoop out with a kitchen spider to allow excess oil to drip off.
- Drop the fried vegetables into the sauce. Make sure every piece is soaked in sauce.
- Leave the vegetables to soak for another 30 minutes.
- Serve the mixed vegetables agebitashi at room temperature topped with toasted sesame seeds.