Miso and eggplant are just a fantastic combination. This dish, known in Japan as nasu dengaku, is more traditionally served as a thick miso sauce topping eggplants that have been halved lengthways and grilled. I prefer this version for home cooking, as it suits the larger European eggplants, and the extra roasting of the miso gives a lovely nutty-sweet flavour.
- 2 large eggplants, cut into 2cm cubes
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- sea salt, to taste
- 2 spring onions, thinly sliced, to serve
- toasted white and black sesame seeds, to serve
- 3 tbsp white or red miso
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp mirin
- 1 tbsp sake
- 2 tbsp water
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Heat the oven to 200ºC (fan-forced). Toss the eggplant in the olive oil and season with a little salt. Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper and roast for 20 minutes, or until the eggplant is slightly browned. If you like, you can salt and rinse the eggplants first, but it's not really necessary as the bitterness in the eggplant works well with the sweet miso.
Meanwhile, mix together the miso dressing ingredients and pour over the roasted eggplant, tossing it on the tray to coat well. Continue to roast for a further 5-10 minutes, or until the miso sauce starts to caramelise.
Remove the eggplant from the oven, transfer to a serving plate, scatter with spring onion and toasted sesame seeds, and serve.
• To avoid burning black sesame seeds, toast them in a pan with white sesame seeds and watch for the white ones to change colour.