Sauteed Eggplant with Spicy Miso Sauce – なべしぎ
A little while ago I posted a recipe for nasu dengaku (eggplant with miso glaze) where I explained how hard of a time I had cooking eggplant well. So yes, I’ll admit that up until now sauteed eggplant was not my specialty but I have also come to realize that using certain types of eggplants for certain dishes make a huge difference in the outcome of the dish. Take the classic large Italian eggplants: Large eggplants are dense and full of crunchy seeds, which don’t make them a prime contender for delicate dishes. But they do have their place in the kitchen and make wonderful moussakas and parmesan style dishes. They taste great as long as they are cooked with other strong ingredients.
Then you have the smaller versions like the round Canadian eggplant, and the longer Chinese and Japanese eggplants, which have less meat and smaller seeds. These are all wonderful in stir fries and can play the main part of of a dish because they carry flavors really well. This sauteed eggplant with spicy miso sauce is a great example: assertive flavors are presented here and pair supremely well with the soft and tender texture of Canadian eggplants.
Sauteed eggplant with spicy miso sauce (nabeshigi in Japanese) is a traditional Japanese appetizer that’s very easy to make. The eggplant slices are soaked in cold water first and then fried in toasted sesame oil and dried red chilies. A mixture of miso paste, soy sauce, sake and sugar is then added to the pan and the eggplant is left to cook until all the liquid is absorbed. And that’s all you need to do to make this spectacular sauteed eggplant appetizer!
A lot of Japanese recipes using eggplants tend to be on the sweeter side of the flavor spectrum. But not this one! This sauteed eggplant recipe is a little sweet, but has more prominent savory and nutty flavors. It’s definitely worth a try.
Serve this traditional Japanese sauteed eggplant recipe with warm Japanese rice, a side of pickled daikon and a healthy (and easy) edamame soup. Or take it to work and eat it together with a tasty Thai noodle soup in a cup, and make your co-workers jealous!
- 2 dried Chinese red chilies, finely chopped
- 1oz/ 245g Japanese or small Canadian eggplant, chopped bite size (about 3 cups)
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp miso paste
- 1 scallion, finely chopped
- 3 tbsp water
- Ingredients for the sauce:
- 2 tbsp sake
- 1½ tbsp mirin
- 1½ tbsp soy sauce
- Put the eggplant in a bowl of cold water and soak for 10 minutes.
- Mix all the ingredients for the sauce in a bowl and set aside.
- Drain and pat the eggplant dry with paper towels.
- In a large pan over medium heat, add vegetable oil, sesame oil and dried chilies. Cook for 1 minute.
- Add eggplant and cook until the pieces soften (about 3-4 minutes).
- Turn the heat up to high, add sauce and cook for one minute.
- Add sugar, stir well and cook for one minute.
- Add miso paste and water, stir and cook for 3-4 minutes, until eggplant is tender.
- Transfer to a bowl and top with chopped scallions. Serve immediately.