This Japanese dish is incredibly simple to make, yet the complex flavours of the miso paste would make anyone think you had been slaving over it for hours. Mirin is a fermented rice wine that is naturally sweet. Unfortunately most mirin available in supermarkets have glucose/corn syrup or sugar as one of the first ingredients, avoid these, proper mirin should have no added sugar at all. The Clearspring brand of mirin is a good example of what you should be looking for, or do a search online for other natural brands with no added sugar in your area. Nasu dengaku is lovely on its own with rice or as a side dish.
Preheat the grill to medium. Mix the honey into the yoghurt and keep to one side. Cut the aubergines in half lengthways and score the flesh. Drizzle over a little vegetable oil and rub into the flesh. Place on a tray under the grill and cook for 15 minutes on one side, then flip over and cook for another 15 minutes. Keep a close eye on them and if they look like they are beginning to burn, cover with tinfoil. The white flesh should be soft, while the skin is still a little firm holding the shape of the aubergine.
While the aubergine is cooking make the miso paste. Place the miso, coconut palm sugar and mirin in a pan over a gentle heat and stir to combine for a couple of minutes. Once everything has come together and the mixture is warm, remove from the heat.
Once the aubergines flesh is soft, carefully remove the tray. Turn the grill up to high and spread the miso paste evenly over the flesh side of the 4 aubergine halves. Don’t spread it too thick, you may not need to use all the paste depending on the size of your aubergines. Return the aubergines to the grill flesh side up and cook for a few minutes until the miso paste begins to caramelise and bubble. Watch carefully as it can burn very quickly.
Plate up and drizzle over some of the yoghurt, serving the rest on the side. Scatter over the sesame seeds and spring onion slices and serve immediately.
Yield: 4 Servings
250g coconut, soya or natural Greek yoghurt
1 tbsp honey
2 large aubergines
3 tbsp white miso
3 tsp coconut palm sugar
3 tbsp mirin
1 spring onion, roughly sliced on the diagonal
2 tsp sesame seeds