I never used to be an eggplant fan. It was too often, butter, soggy or watery. I’ve learnt that when it’s cooked in certain ways it is so delicious. This is one of those ways, in this little recipe the eggplant becomes meaty and laden with umami rich flavours from the miso paste. The crisp lettuce cups are a perfect foil to this salty richness.
I like to buy small to medium eggplants, just because I like their flavour the most, thus that’s what this recipe calls for. I love the chewiness of the skin in this but if you’re not a fan feel free to cut it off before tossing in the miso sauce.
I often serve this as a starter when I have friends ovee or as part of a share food feast that will often involve dumplings and noodle salads. You can also just eat it for lunch or dinner with some brown rice and extra greens, but it is reasonably high in salt so take that into account.
You can use iceberg lettuce in this recipe if you prefer.
Serves 4 as a starter.
2 medium eggplants
1 baby cos lettuce, leaves separated
2 Tbs finely sliced spring onion
1 finely sliced birds eye chilli
1/2 cup coriander leaves
1 Tbs Miso paste
2 Tbs soy Sauce
1.5 Tbs Sake
1/4 tsp maple syrup
4 drops sesame oil
1 tsp black sesame seeds
1 tsp white sesame seeds
Preheat an oven to 180 degrees celsius. Slice eggplants in half and score the flesh diagonally in both directions so you have a diamond pattern. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and place the eggplant cut side down. Bake in the own for 15 minutes, turn the eggplant over and cook for 10-15 minutes longer or until the eggplant is soft when squeezed gently.
Meanwhile wash lettuce leaves well and return to the fridge to crisp up again. Next, combine soy, miso, maple syrup, oil and sake in a small pot. Place over a low heat and stir to combine. Once it starts to boil and all ingredients are combined remove from the heat and set aside.
Remove the cooked eggplant from the oven, using the score marks as a guide chop the eggplant into bite sized pieces and toss in the miso sauce until well coated. If there is any leftover sauce put it aside and drizzle over the eggplant half way through cooking time. Put the coated eggplant pieces back on the parchment paper covered baking tray, sprinkle with sesame seeds and bake for 5-7 minutes or until the sauce is tacky.
Serve in the lettuce cups, topped with spring onion, coriander and chilli.