Miso caramel aubergines
Words and imagery: Sasha Gill // @thesashadiaries
For the herbivores amongst us, eggplant is a diet staple. Hearty, filling and able to be served in a multitude of ways, you’ll probably find it lurking in any vegetarian fridge. The only problem is, we can sometimes lack inspiration with how to cook it. Sasha says, “This dish is part of my ongoing campaign to earn the aubergine some well-deserved glory – and nasu dengaku is good enough to sway any aubergine-hater! Let your spoon shatter the caramelised sesame ‘crust’ and sink into tender, melting aubergine flesh...” Yes. Just, yes.
Serves 4–6 as a side
Prep time: 15 minutes (plus marinating time)
Cooking time: 40 minutes
4 aubergines (eggplants), cut in half lengthwise
¼ cup (70 g) miso paste (or a gluten free variant for gluten intolerances)
2 teaspoons sesame oil
¼ cup (60 ml) maple syrup
¼ cup (60 ml) warm water
1 cm ginger, finely chopped
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
sliced spring onion (scallion) and red chilli, to garnish
Cut the aubergines in half lengthwise, then score each aubergine half with a diamond pattern, making sure not to cut right through to the skin.
In a bowl, whisk together the miso, sesame oil, maple syrup, warm water, ginger and garlic powder to make a marinade. Pour into a roasting tin and lay the aubergines, scored side down, in the marinade. Leave to marinate for 1–2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Cover the roasting tin with foil and bake the aubergines for 30–35 minutes, until very tender. Remove from the oven, take off the foil and flip the aubergines over, then spoon some of the cooking juices from the tin over the aubergines. Sprinkle with a generous layer of sesame seeds, then return to the oven, uncovered, for another 5 minutes to toast the sesame seeds and give them a lovely crunch.
Serve garnished with spring onion and chilli slices. If you like, you can pour any remaining cooking juices into a small bowl and serve alongside the aubergine.
Hungry for more? Check our more delicious vegan Asian delights in Sasha’s book Jackfruit and Blue Ginger, $39.99.