If you've been following my Instagram, you may have noticed I've had a bit of a baking itch lately, jumping at every opportunity to practice my cake making skills (and running into a lot of failures one the way). For those weekends where I can't an excuse to bake cake, I like to experiment with different foods in the kitchen, and my idea of fun is any recipe that's completely new- the more unique and complex, the better of course!
As much as I love spending my weekends on these food experiments, when it comes to taste, sometimes simple is best and that certainly is the case with this delicious miso eggplant dish. I had my first taste of miso eggplant in a Japanese restaurant last year and was blown away by how amazing a simple dish of grilled eggplant with miso sauce could taste.
The restaurant version is most likely deep fried, not only giving it a crispy exterior, but also the softest and creamiest texture from the oil absorbed by the eggplant. Eggplant tends to absorb oil, due to the sponge-like structure of the flesh and this is why they are often so tasty- the fat carries much of the flavour!
My version of the dish is baked so it is much lighter, it only uses a light brush of oil and relies on the miso sauce to impart flavour. Scoring the eggplant allows the flavour to get within the eggplant, and letting the sauce cook a little in the oven adds a light char and an extra dimension to the flavour.
It's simple, it's quick, it might not look all that exciting. But hey. It works!
Grilled Miso Eggplant (Nasu Dengaku)
Recipe adapted from Sumo Kitchen
1 large egg plant
vegetable oil, for brushing
Sesame seeds (optional)
- Take a firm egg plant and slice it in half, then slice a slither off the base which will help it to stand up later. Then lay face up in a bowl of water for 10 minutes. Remove, and wipe with a paper towel.
- Add the mirin, sake, sugar and miso to a pot and meat gently while stirring.
- Lightly score the cut surfaces of the eggplant in a cross pattern, then brush with a little oil.
- roast the eggplant in a 200°C oven for 15 minutes, until just cooked
- Brush the eggplant with a thick layer of the miso sauce (step 2) and return to the oven for 5-10 minutes or until the miso is toasted and fragrant. Scatter the eggplant with sesame seeds and serve.