Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Partly vego - Miso Eggplant

Another day, another cookbook.  Yes, I bought another one, and I swear it will be the last (for this week, at least!).

My latest purchase is by Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris, hosts of MasterChef Australia.  The book is titled 'Your Place Or Mine' and contains 86 recipes featuring 43 ingredients, with George and Gary each providing a recipe for each ingredient. But what really drew me to the book was the styling and photography - the food is set up by Caroline Velik, one of my favourite food stylists (and she cooks, too) and it looks amazing. The photos (by Mark Chew and Simon Griffiths) are bright, big and clear and just make you want to pick up a knife and pan start cooking.

The recipes themselves run the gamut of traditional (twice-baked Gruyere souffles) through to more contemporary (carrot cake with black olive caramel - this one looks really good, must try it soon). 
The dish I tried here is by Gary, from the Eggplant chapter of the book, and it's miso plopped on eggplant, served in a dashi/miso broth.  I've changed the recipe as it originally uses brown-rice miso and I only had white miso. I also adjusted the measurements because I found the original too salty, and the way he describes cutting the eggplant didn't make sense and didn't match the photo.  Despite the changes (or maybe because of them), the final result is a gorgeous, mouth-watering vegetable delight.

Postscript: I was just reading a thought-provoking post by Stella from The Witchy Kitchen on the reasons (and benefits) of becoming vegetarian.  Most interesting and quite motivating. 
Stella, this (vegetarian) eggplant's for you!

Miso with Eggplant
serves 2

1 heaped tablespoon white miso paste
1 tblsp caster sugar
75ml mirin
100ml boiling water
7g dashi powder or for vegetarian, use kombu (dried kelp) dashi; recipe here
1 tsp sesame oil
1 cup fresh or frozen edamame (soy beans), removed from pods
1 large or 2 small-medium eggplant (aubergine)
200ml vegetable oil or rice bran oil
bonito flakes or fried shallots, to garnish

1.  For the miso sauce: Mix the miso and sugar in a small saucepan. Add the mirin a little at a time. Stir over low heat for 10 minutes or until the mixture thickens and forms a paste.  Remove from the heat and set aside.
2.  For the dashi broth: Transfer 1 tablespoon of the miso mixture to a bowl.  Mix the boiling water with the dashi powder then add to the bowl together with the sesame oil.  Mix and set aside.
3.  For the edamame: Bring a saucepan of water to the boil.  Add a pinch of salt and the edamame beans and boil for 2 minutes, then drain.  Season with salt flakes and set aside.
4.  For the eggplant: Cut the eggplants into 2cm (1 inch) slices, then score in a crisscross patten on the diagonal about 1cm into the eggplant.  Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan to 180C, then lower the eggplant carefully into the pan and cook for 5 minutes.  Reduce heat to low-medium and turn the eggplants over.  Cook for a further 5 minutes or until tender.  Drain really well on paper towels.
5.  To serve: Spread the cooked eggplant slices with miso sauce, then place in a bowl.  Scatter with the edamame, pour a little of the dashi broth around it, sprinkle with bonito flakes or fried shallot, and serve.

Recipe adapted from Your Place or Mine (Penguin Books).
Ingredients, including eggplant, frozen edamame, dashi powder, mirin and white miso.
And the boys' cookbook.

The edamame are boiled from frozen; the miso sauce is a rich, salty mixture of miso, sugar and mirin.

Serve the eggplant in a bowl with the broth poured around.
Sprinkle with bonito flakes (or fried shallots, as shown here).


  1. That looks so elegant! Just like the one you usually will see in a 5-star restaurant.

  2. Being a serious cookbook buying addict myself I understand the compulsion to keep buying more. But when they produce recipes as delicious as this, how can you argue? I love the miso eggplant combo. It's one of my favorite things to order at Japanese restaurants.

  3. At the rsik of sounding foolish, where does on buy frozen edamame? I went on a serious hunt not long ago but the staff at every supermarket and Asian grocer I tried looked at me like I had two heads!

  4. hi Kat - a few months ago, I was in the same boat. Then I noticed frozen edamame in the freezer of Asian grocers, near the frozen veg or seafood. They come in plastic bags. Hope you find some soon, they are very handy to have in the fridge at home.

  5. I love this!! Must try this eggplant dish. We are all getting healthy for summer.

  6. Mmm I love nasu dengaku and this version has a nice smothering of miso yay!

  7. Thanks for your comment on my blog. Yes, I hope a lot of customers get the "Lauer-Krauts" party pack. They deserve it.
    Your miso eggplant dish looks delicious. I would like to have a taste bite!

  8. Reminds me of nasu dengaku which is my favourite! Love the flavours :-)

  9. What a unique concept dish! ... looks wonderfully intriguing!

  10. I have the book as well! I was also drawn to it by the fantastic photos and styling - a great source of inspiration! Well done on the eggplant dish - you could turn a meat eater into a vegetarian with this.

  11. I want to get this book just for Gary's recipes! lol. Always big ban of his creations. This is no exception. So lovely, Belle!

  12. I'd eat this any day. The flesh of the eggplant looks so silky!

  13. I am buying this book. What an amazing dish! I love eggplant and Miso and edamame! WOW! Can i come over for left overs? I bet there arent any?!?!?! YUUUUUMMMMMM!

  14. I really like the word "plopped". It's so nice and onomatopoeic :)

  15. It's cool that this recipe has soybeans in fresh green form and fermented tasty pasty form.

  16. miso and egplant together that's cool !!Pierre

  17. yum miso eggplant is probably one of my most favourite japanese dishes in the world and i would have never thought to add whole soybeans on top... genius!

  18. my addition would be to add tempura battered firm silken tofu between slices of eggplant and dribble miso over the top, then add your daikon and soy beans. YUUUUUMMMMM!!!!

  19. And "one of my favorite thing to order in Japanese restaurants. I noticed frozen edamame in the freezer for Australian traders in the vicinity of frozen vegetables or seafood. Aubergine is probably one of my favorite Japanese dishes in as flat worldeggplant - You can put a meat eater to a vegetarian.

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