Miso is a type of fermented soy paste, which is used as an essential ingredient in many Japanese dishes. The most famous miso paste recipe is the miso soup but other than that, there are many miso recipes that are equally delicious and gorgeous. An example of such a gorgeous recipe that calls for miso paste is the grilled Asian eggplants with miso sauce.
This is a very elegant recipe, in which the eggplants are grilled and then they are coated with a sweet and savory miso sauce. So, if you don’t like eggplants, make sure you try this recipe to change your opinion.
Difficulty level: Easy
Servings per recipe: 4-6
Time required for preparation: 10- 15 minutes
Time required for cooking: 25-30 minutes
1 sauté pan
1 pastry brush
1 grill pan
1 vegetable peeler
1 muslin cloth or tea towel
4 Asian eggplants,
Vegetable cooking oil
Sesame seeds, lightly toasted
For the Sauce
3 tablespoons of miso paste (white or yellow)
2 tablespoons of sake
½ teaspoon of freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon of cornstarch
2 tablespoons of dashi
1 tablespoon of pure honey
2 tablespoons of mirin
For the Dashi
500 ml. of water, at room temperature
25 ml. of cold water
10 grams of smoked and dried bonito (katsuobushi) flakes
10 grams of dried kelp (konbu)
Method of Preparation
1. Start the preparation by first preparing the dashi. For that, pour 500 ml. of water into a large saucepan and add the dried kelps to it. Soak the kelps in the water for 2-5 hours or until they fully open up and expand. Once the kelps open up, place the saucepan on the stove and light up the flame.
Maintain the flame on high and wait for the water to start bubbling. Once the water starts bubbling, remove the kelps from the water and let the water come to a boil. Let the water boil for 1 minute and then turn off the flame.
2. Then add the cold water to the hot water to bring down its temperature. Let the water sit at room temperature for 20 seconds and then add the bonito flakes to it. Once the bonito flakes are completely submerged in the water, let them sit in the water for 15 minutes.
Once done, strain the dashi by passing it through a muslin cloth lined sieve. For that, place a sieve over a bowl and lay a muslin cloth or tea towel above the sieve. Then pour the dashi mixture into the sieve. Collect the dashi into the bowl and then gather the muslin cloth into a small pouch. Press the sides of the pouch gently to extract out the dripping dashi from it and then discard the pouch.
3. While the dashi is coming to the room temperature, take the eggplants and rinse them thoroughly under slow running water. Once done, you can either cut off the caps of eggplants or retain them for better presentation. Pat-dry the eggplants with paper towels and then peel off their skin.
For that, peel off the skin by retaining some of it in between each peeled portion. Once done, set aside the eggplants and take a grill pan. Place the grill pan on the stove and light up the flame. Set the flame on high and wait for the grill pan to become piping hot.
4. While the grill pan is heating up, take the peeled eggplants and grease them generously by brushing oil all over them. Be pretty generous while oiling the eggplants, as they will stay on the grill for quite a long time and eggplants soak up oil pretty fast. Once the grill pan heats up, brush some oil on it and then place the eggplants on it.
Grill the eggplants until they develop grilled marks on their surface. Once that happens, flip the eggplants with a pair of tongs and let the other sides cook. Grill the eggplants, turning them occasionally until they are cooked through and become very soft and wilted.
5. While the eggplants are grilling, you can prepare the sauce for the eggplants. For that, take another clean and dry saucepan and place it on the stove. Turn the knob to light up the flame and then set the flame on high. Pour the dashi into the saucepan and boil it for 1 minute.
Once the dashi is boiled for 1 minute, pour it into a bowl and set it aside to cool down. Next, pour the sake into the saucepan and let it boil on high heat for 1-2 minutes or until the entire alcohol cooks out. Follow that by adding the mirin. Cook that for 1 minute more and then lower down the heat.
6. Next, take the warm dashi and dissolve the miso paste in it. Whisk the mixture immediately after adding the miso paste to completely dissolve it in the dashi. Once done, add the miso mixture and the honey to the mirin and sake mixture. Cook the sauce on medium low heat for 30 seconds and then add the grated ginger.
While the sauce is simmering for 10 seconds more, dissolve the cornstarch in a little bit of water and then pour it into the sauce. Stir the sauce immediately to incorporate the cornstarch in it and then turn off the heat.
7. Next, take a sauté pan and place it on the stove. Set the flame on low and wait for the sauté pan to heat up. Once the sauté pan starts smoking, put the sesame seeds in it and toast them lightly until they turn aromatic and lightly golden in color. Once that happens, remove the sauté pan from the stove and turn off the flame. Check the eggplants and flip them once or twice more if required.
8. Once that happens, remove the eggplants from the grill pan and place them on a wire rack to cool them down a bit. Once the eggplants are cooled down enough to handle, slit them open in half lengthwise and then brush a little bit of the miso sauce over each of them. Drizzle the remaining miso sauce over all the eggplants and then sprinkle a little bit of the toasted sesame seeds on top to serve them warm.
1. Make some criss-cross marks on the eggplants with knife before placing them on the grilling because that helps the eggplants to hold on the sauce.
2. To understand whether the grill pan is sufficiently heated up, brush some oil on that and if the oil turns into white foam then you can be sure that the grill pan is nicely heated up.
3. The best way to know whether the eggplants are cooked through is to slightly push them with your fingers or a pair of tongs. If you feel that the eggplants have turned very soft then it means that they are cooked through.
4. Retain some of the skin on the eggplants because that helps to retain the shape of the eggplants.