Miso: an ingredient unheard of at grocery stores until recently, and now you can even buy tubs of them online!
Miso is basically a type of fermented soy, used widely in Japanese cooking. What it brings is a distinct umami flavour, like a deeper, saltier thickened soy sauce variation. Interested yet? Great!
Eggplants are great in carrying miso flavour, as they are a sturdy, meaty vegetable, and hold well against a heavy slathering of miso. And then, we grill them until they are charred and almost blackened, and what you'll get is the silky texture of softened eggplant, with a healthy slap of salty, savoury goodness...
Anyway. A compliment to this would then be a portion of springy soba noodles drenched in a creamy sesame sauce, and to offset these textures, some cripsy, air-fried tofu, some edamame, and crunchy, fresh cucumber. Gosh. I love it when healthy stuff doesn't compromise deliciousness.
If you need some fire, you can also sprinkle some chopped chilies in this dish.
This recipe makes 1 serving.
What You Need:
1 long eggplant, sliced into 0.5cm long
1 tbsp miso paste, any variety
1 tbsp olive oil
1 handful soba noodles (more or less. consider a single portion)
1 handful edamame beans, boiled, shelled
1 handful diced cucumber
Optional: Sesame seeds, chopped chili, to top dish
For the soba dressing;
1 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp vinegar (I prefer balsamic)
1 small clove garlic, grated
What You Do:
1. Put a grill on high heat.
2. Add miso with olive oil so that it become a runnier paste, and slather one side of the sliced eggplant only. Put the eggplant onto the grill, miso-side up.
3. Cube your tofu, pop them in the air fryer for about 20 mins, 200 deg, or until browned and crsipy. If you don't have an air fryer, shallow fry them in a small pan to get similar results.
4. Meanwhile, prepare the soba dressing. Adjust the ingredients according to taste. You're looking for a creamy and seasoned taste.
5. Boil a pot of water, and pop in your soba noodles. These noodles take very little time to cook, usually around 4-5 mins. Taste it as you go along, make sure it's not overly soggy. Drain. Pour dressing. Toss.
6. After about 5 mins on the grill, flip the eggplant over. Slather this surface with the rest of the miso paste. You may turn them over a few times, and the goal is to get the eggplant cooked, and the miso slightly darkened. They will look ugly. That's ok. They'll taste great though.
7. In a large plate, assemble the soba noodles, cucumber, tofu, edamame and grilled eggplant.
8. That's eat, really. Bon appetit :)