Makes 4 servings
Miso-fermented soybean paste-is one of the most important staples in Japanese cooking, used in everything from soups to sauces and glazes. It's rich in protein and makes a great "secret" flavor enhancer for all kinds of cooking. Miso is made by mixing crushed boiled soybeans with rice, barley, or wheat; inoculating this mash with a yeast culture; and allowing the whole thing to ferment for several months. White miso (miso shiru), made with rice, has a sweet, delicate flavor, while red miso (aka miso), made with barley, is saltier and more robust. Both are sold in plastic tubs in many supermarkets and most natural food stares. In our house, there's always some miso in the fridge, so we can make a quick, nutritious soup by combining it with dashi, tofu, and whatever vegetables are on hand.
You don't have to be serving a Japanese meal to enjoy these tasty grilled vegetables: slices of eggplant, zucchini, onion, and shiitake mushrooms, cooked on a griddle and finished with a miso glaze.
1/4 cup Japanese soup stock (dashi)
3 tablespoons sweet cooking rice wine (mirin)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons fermented soybean paste (red miso)
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 Asian eggplants, each about 5 inches long
2 zucchini, each about 5 inches long
1 medium onion
8 fresh shiitake mushrooms
1 teaspoon white sesame seeds
In a small pan, heat dashi, mirin, sugar, and soy sauce over medium heat just until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and whisk in miso until sauce is smoothly blended.
Combine cooking oil and sesame oil a small bowl.
Cut eggplants and zucchini diagonally to make ovals about 1/4 inch thick and 3 inches long. Cut onion in half length-wise, then cut crosswise into 1/4 inch-thick slices. With a wooden pick, skewer each slice to keep rings together. Discard mushroom stems.
Place sesame seeds in a small frying pan over medium beat; cook, shaking pan frequently, until lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Immediately remove from pan to cool.
Heat a Japanese iron griddle (teppan) or wide frying pan over medium heat. Brush hot griddle with some of the oil. Place vegetables on griddle and brush with oil. Cook, turning once and brushing again with oil, until vegetables are tender, about 3 minutes on each side.
Reduce heat to low. Brush half of miso glaze on vegetables and cook for 30 seconds. Turn vegetables. Brush with remaining glaze, and cook 30 seconds longer. Place on a serving plate and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Martin Yan's Asia
Favorite Recipes from Hong Kong, Singapore,
Malaysia, the Philippines, and Japan
By Martin Yan
KQED Books & Tapes
Color pictures throughout
Recipe Reprinted by permission.
This page created February 1999
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