Miso aubergine “mushi”

Dinners out are a great source of inspiration for cooking, and have the added bonus of reminding you of a lovely occasion when you recreate them.  Miso aubergine has always been one of my favourite dishes so pretty much always features on my order at Japanese restaurants. Therefore, when I ordered grilled miso aubergine at a Japanese restaurant on a wonderful evening out with my sister and husband I wasn’t expecting anything new. However, I thought the version server up was really exceptional: a whole half aubergine, meltingly soft, scored with cross hatched cuts and drenched in a perfectly balanced miso sauce.  At home I tried recreating this lovely mix of sweet, citrus and salty sauce and half aubergine presentation, and my husband suggested making it more of a complete meal in itself by stuffing it with sushi rice. To make the stuffing more interesting I added some quick cook farro to the rice and some steamed shiitake mushrooms as I thought their earthiness nicely balanced the sweet and citrus notes in the miso sauce. The name “mushi” came from a comment my husband made that the dish looked more like a mush than anything we had ever tried at a sushi restaurant and stuck as it seemed to suit this dish’s lovably squashed and haphazard appearance!

Photo from Katy Coull

This dish gives me happy memories of a beautiful evening out with my sister and husband

miso aubergine “mushi”

Cooking time: 15 minutes preparation, 30 minutes cooking time

Dietary info: vegan, gluten free if you use a vegan and gluten free miso (some varieties contain grains such as wheat, and miso designed to make miso soup may contain fish flakes)

Serves: 2

  • 2 aubergine
  • 50g sushi rice
  • 50g quick cook faro
  • 200 g shiitake mushrooms, sliced or quartered

Miso sauce

  • 4 tbsp miso
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 tbsp water
  • a pinch of sugar or sweetener such as Stevia to taste (optional)
  1. Mix together all the sauce ingredients until smooth. It is easier to prevent lumps in the miso if you add the liquids to it gradually.
  2. Wash the aubergine, chop off the top and end and cut it in half. Score a cross hatch of cuts in the cut side of each half being careful not to cut through the skin.
  3. Spread 1 tbsp of the miso sauce on top of the cut side of each half aubergine, put on a baking tray and cover in foil.
  4. Bake at 160C fan for 20-25 minutes until the aubergine is soft.
  5. Rinse the farro and sushi rice in cold water the out in a saucepan and cover in fresh water so that the water comes about 1 cm above the grains. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes until they are cooked but still with a little bite.
  6. Steam the mushrooms for about 8 minutes until they are soft.
  7. Scrape out the centre of each aubergine half using a tablespoon so that you make a dip in each but there is still enough aubergine to keep its shape. Roughly mash the scraped out aubergine with a form.
  8. Mix together the rice and farro, mushrooms, scraped out aubergine and 2 tbsp of the sauce and put this mixture into the dips in the aubergine halves. It will form a dome above the aubergine slice as it is a larger volume than the aubergine you scraped out.
  9. Put the aubergine halves back in the oven and bake for a further 10-15 minutes until the top has gone a little crispy.
  10. Serve with the remaining miso sauce on the side.

A few tips to prep ahead:

  • Make the miso sauce and keep in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a week.
  • You can cook the aubergine ahead of time and keep them, covered, in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • You can prepare the filling 1 day ahead of time as long as cool it quickly and keep it in the fridge rather than leaving it at room temperature. Reheat it thoroughly and make sure it is piping hot.  Do not prepare the rice further ahead than this as it can present a food poisoning risk.

Some tasty little twists…

To make a lighter dish, leave out the stuffing and just have grilled miso aubergine with a salad or steamed vegetables.  Use the same sauce mixture as above but the only extra things you need are 2 aubergine, a few tbsp of sesame seeds and vegetables or salad to serve:

  1. Mix together all the sauce ingredients until smooth. It is easier to prevent lumps in the miso if you add the liquids to it gradually.
  2. Wash the aubergine, chop off the top and end and cut it in half. Score a cross hatch of cuts in the cut side of each half being careful not to cut through the skin.
  3. Spread 1 tbsp of the miso sauce on top of the cut side of each half aubergine, put on a baking tray and cover in foil.
  4. Bake at 160C fan for 20-25 minutes until the aubergine is soft.
  5. Uncover the aubergine and spread each half with an extra tbsp of miso sauce.
  6. Put the aubergine halves under a medium grill for 3-6 minutes until they are golden brown.
  7. Put the sesame seeds in a pan and heat them for a minute or two until they start to brown and smell fragrant.  Keep them moving to stop them burning.
  8. Sprinkle the aubergine halves with the sesame seeds and serve with the remaining sauce and salad or steamed vegetables.

Another way you can serve these grilled aubergine is to use it as the filling for hand rolls – see my salmon and ginger hand rolls with miso sauce for instructions on how to make a hand roll (but replace the salmon with the grilled aubergine cut into strips.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Miso aubergine “mushi”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s