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.


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


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