New to Japanese cooking? This simple vegetable dish is a good starting point.
Miso is a great source of protein and B vitamins, and can, reportedly, help lower cholesterol and ease digestion. One of my favourite side dishes, miso aubergine (nasu dengaku) works well as an accompaniment to poached fish, or even just on its own with a bowl of plain rice.
vegetable oil, for brushing
100g miso paste
3 tsp sugar
4 tbsp mirin
sesame seeds, to serve
Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6.
Cut the aubergines in half, and leave to soak for 10 minutes in a bowl of salted water. I find this helps to reduce bitterness.
Drain the water, and score the aubergines, brushing each side generously with some oil.
Place the aubergines on a baking tray lined with foil, and roast for 10 minutes, scored-side up. Then turn them over and roast them for a further 5 minutes, bottom-side up.
While the aubergines are roasting, mix the remaining ingredients in a saucepan to make the glaze and heat until simmering gently. Let it reduce slightly, adding water, if necessary, to ensure it doesn’t reduce too much and to avoid burning. It should be the colour and texture of a buttery caramel.
Once the aubergines are cooked through, take them out of the oven and cover with the glaze. Place them under a hot grill for a couple of minutes before serving, sprinkled with sesame seeds.
Extracted from Japonisme by Erin Niimi Longhurst (Harper Thorsons, approx €11.50).