I’ve previously gushed about my fascination about Japan and Japanese food in my Crispy tofu skewers post. Back when I was 20 years old, I was invited to a friend’s birthday dinner in a Japanese restaurant where I was introduced to Japanese style aubergine/ eggplant. Prior to this, I had only eaten aubergine mainly in ratatouille or as fritters, where the flesh of this vegetable was quite firm, or in baba ghanoush where the flesh was blitzed into a super smooth paste. In this restaurant, the flesh had both qualities; firm towards the edges and super soft in the middle. It was the best of both worlds. This recipe has the same qualities and pairs well with the chewiness of the noodles. Serves 2 as a main, or 4 as starter/ entree.
- 2 medium sized aubergines/ eggplants
- 50g miso paste (I prefer the less intense white miso)
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 2 tbsp water
- 300g udon noodles
- 40g mixed dried mushrooms
- Sesame seeds, chilli and herbs, to garnish
- Preheat oven to 200C (180c fan forced)
- Cut the aubergines in half, and if desired cut off the tops too. Carefully score the aubergines; using a sharp knife, slice the aubergines on the diagonal and then in the opposite direction, making sure not to pierce the skin.
- In a small bowl, add the miso paste, the water and the sesame oil. Stir to combine.
- Place the aubergines on a baking tray. Spread the miso mixture over the aubergines; press on the outside edges to open up the slits so to get as much of the mixture inside the aubergines.
- Cover the tray with foil (shiny side down) and roast in the oven for 30 minutes.
- Remove the foil and roast for a further 15 minutes, or until tender.
- Add the dried mushrooms to a mug and cover with boiling water. Leave to steep for 5 minutes, then remove the mushrooms.
- Cook the udon noodles as per packet instructions, then drain.
- Place the udon noodles into serving bowls. Pour half the mushroom broth over each bowl. Serve with the aubergines, and garnish with sesame seeds, chilli and herbs, as desired. Enjoy!
- Discarded mushrooms can be saved and used in stocks or other recipes.
- If short on time, soy sauce can be substituted for the mushroom broth, but only use a small amount due the saltiness of the miso paste.
- If you don’t have toasted sesame oil, vegetable oil can be substituted.