Tea whisk eggplants are decoratively cut eggplants. As the name shows, the shape of an eggplant with many horizontal incisions resembles a bamboo tea whisk, which is used for Japanese tea ceremonies.
The incisions make an ordinary eggplant look pretty, but they also help the eggplant to cook fast and absorb flavor. The technique of making incisions is not difficult, as long as you have a sharp knife.
The incised eggplants can be deep fried, stewed, steamed, or microwaved. When you push down the cooked and softened eggplants, the incisions open up easily.
In order to make the process quick and easy, I used a microwave to cook. You might be surprised to know that active cooking time of this recipe is about 10 minutes. (You need a couple of hours to chill after the preparation.)
As to the kind of eggplants, it’s better to use small eggplants. I used Indian eggplants, which were sold at a grocery store in my neighborhood. They are round and about 1″~2″ long. You can also use Italian eggplants, which are about 5″ long. I don’t recommend American eggplants and Japanese eggplants (I’ve never seen such long eggplants in Japan) as they are too big or too long respectively for this recipe.