Half an aubergine roasted with star anise, Chinese rice wine and sesame

Miso aubergine

Half an aubergine roasted with star anise, Chinese rice wine and sesame

We all need more ways to cook aubergine, right? It absorbs flavour like a sponge, and these flavours are deeply savoury and umami without being overtly Asian so you can serve this as a meat-alternative for a roast dinner, or drizzle with a tahini dressing and serve with salads.

They cook slowly so will happily sit in a small dish at the bottom of the oven while other things are cooked above.

Ingredients

Serves 2

1 medium/large globe aubergine

1 tbsp brown miso paste (I like the Clearspring organic one)

45ml boiling water

100ml Shaoxing rice wine (This is the one I use, and it’s great for cooking pork belly and lots of other recipes. Or you could  substitute dry sherry, mirin or cooking sake)

1 teaspoon zingy Szechuan peppercorns, bashed or ground with a pestle and mortar

1 tbsp light soy sauce

4 star anise

1 tbsp sesame oil

Method

Cut the aubergine in half lengthways (top to bottom) and make some criss-cross incisions in the cut half, being careful not to slice all the way through to the skin. You want slits so the flavours can penetrate.

In a ramekin mix the miso paste with the boiling water, then use a pastry brush to paint the cut half generously with the mixture.

Place the aubergine in a small oven-proof dish, pour over half the Shaoxing, half the soy sauce and half a cup of water and add the star anise to the dish. Sprinkle with the Szechuan pepper.

Place in a low oven (160C / 350G / Gas mark 4) for 90 minutes.
After 45 minutes paint another layer of miso mixture and turn the aubergine over to lie ‘face down’.  If a lot of the liquid has evaporated, top up with more Shaoxing, soy and water.

For the last 5 minutes of cooking time, turn the aubergine back over, spoon over the cooking juices and pour over the sesame oil. Check the seasoning – despite the miso and soy sauce it may need a little salt.

These can be served hot, warm or at room temperature.

 

To add a tahini dressing, mix together 2 tablespoons of tahini with the juice of half a lemon, 1 teaspoon of garlic paste, a pinch of salt and 4 tablespoons of boiling water.

 

© Linda Galloway 2020