Aubergine with dengaku miso and mozzarella
Recipe type: Vegetable side
Cuisine: Nikkei
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
This deceptively simple dish of miso-glazed aubergine topped with melted mozzarella and sesame seeds is packed with deep umami flavours - perfect for a side dish or light vegetarian main.
  • 2 medium aubergines/eggplants/brinjals
  • 4 Tbs vegetable oil (I used rapeseed)
  • 4 Tbs sesame oil
  • 100g ready grated mozzarella
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds to garnish
  • 4 Tbsp brown miso paste
  • 4 Tbsp mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  1. First, prepare the dengaku miso paste by mixing all the ingredients in a small saucepan and warming through until the sugar has dissolved. Stir well to combine and then set aside. The sauce can be made in advance and can keep for a couple of weeks in an airtight container in the fridge.
  2. Wash and dry the aubergines, then slice them exactly in half, lengthways, preferably without removing the stem as this helps to hold the cooked aubergine together. Use a sharp knife to score a diamond pattern in the cut flesh of the aubergines, about 1cm deep, but do not pierce the skin.
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
  4. Heat the oils in a large frying pan or skillet (with a lid) until smoking hot, then lower the temperature to medium and immediately place the halved aubergines in the pan, cut side down. Cover with the lid and fry for about 5 minutes. Turn the aubergines over using tongs or an egg-lifter and place them back in the pan skin side down. Cover with the lid and allow to fry for a further 10 minutes. The aubergine halves will by now be very soft so use the egg-lifter to transfer them carefully, skin-side down, to a roasting tray.
  5. Apply a thin layer of the dengaku miso paste to the cut side of the aubergine, using a knife or the back of a teaspoon. Cover each aubergine half in mozzarella cheese and place in the oven for 5 minutes to re-heat. After 5 minutes, turn up the grill to high and grill until the cheese is completely melted and browning at the edges.
  6. Carefully remove each aubergine half from the roasting dish using an egg lifter, plate and serve immediately, sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds.
Recipe by Cooksister | Food, Travel, Photography at