The side dish which Michelle picked for the Japanese theme meal is Eggplant with Miso Topping (Nasu Dengaku). It was a last minute addition as Michelle found Asian eggplant on sales while she was groceries shopping for the community kitchen.
Eggplant with Miso Topping is Michelle’s favourite dish to order at Japanese restaurants.
3 to 4 Chinese or Japanese eggplants
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon canola or any neutral oil
sesame seeds to garnish
5 tablespoons white miso paste
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon mirin
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup water
Source: Let’s Cook Japanese Food by A. Kaneko
In a small saucepan, stir together the miso, sugar, mirin, egg yolk and water.
Place over medium-low heat and whisk constantly until sugar is fully incorporated and the sauce is very smooth, about 4 minutes. Do not allow it to boil. Remove from heat and set aside.
Trim off stem and blossom ends from each eggplant. Cut each eggplant in half lengthwise, and score the cut sides with shallow 1/4″ cross hatching. This will help the miso topping stick to the eggplant.
Preheat broiler. In a large frying pan, heat the sesame and canola oils over medium-high heat. When they are hot, add the eggplant halves, cut side down, to pan. If pan is not large enough, do it in batches.
Cook until lightly brown, about 4 minutes.
Using tongs, carefully turn and cook skin side down until eggplants are soft but still hold their shape, about 4 minutes more. Adjust heat if necessary to keep from burning.
Transfer eggplant halves, cut side up, to broiler pan. Spread an equal amount of the miso topping over each eggplant half. Put under broiler about 4 inches from heat source, until miso starts to turn brown, about 5 minutes.
Remove from broiler and garnish with sesame seeds. Serve hot.