Eggplants with a miso sauce

Sesame-tinged eggplants in a dark, savoury sauce as a side dish or all by its good self.

Eggplant with miso sauce

This is my homespun version of a Japanese way with eggplants, fried in sesame-tinged oil with a few chilli flakes, sauced up with miso, soy, mirin and rice wine. It works as a lovely side dish – accommodating, too, as it doesn’t have to be served piping hot – though it’s substantial enough on its own. We often eat it unaccompanied by nothing but steamed rice.

It’s a successful treatment for all kinds of eggplants, so as a guide I have specified a weight below, rather than a particular variety. If you’re using a large eggplant, cut it into 2cm (about 1 inch) cubes. For egg-sized baby eggplants, cut them into quarters, lengthways. For the long, slender Japanese eggplants, cut them in half lengthways.

Eggplants with a miso sauce


Serves 2.

350g (12 oz) eggplant (see preparation note above)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
½ teaspoon dried red chilli flakes
2 tablespoons rice wine
1 tablespoon mirin
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons white miso
1 tablespoon water

Place the canola oil, sesame oil and chilli flakes in a frying pan over medium heat. Warm through until the chilli flakes start to crackle.

Add the eggplants and fry, turning occasionally, until tender and golden all over.

Meanwhile, combine the soy sauce, mirin, rice wine and sugar in a small bowl, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add the miso and water, mixing until smooth.

Add the miso mixture to the eggplants, tossing for a minute or so until everything is nicely coated and warmed through.

Transfer to your serving bowl or bowls. Sprinkle with a few sesame seeds and some roughly chopped coriander leaves if you have them to hand.

Paul Hayes