All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.

2014-07-19

Nasu no dengaku / eggplant with sweet miso sauce

Creamy eggplant highlighted with sweet & salty miso sauce. While deep-frying is an orthodox method for this dish, the eggplant below is sauteed (with a somewhat large amount of oil) for easier preparation.




114 calories (1/2 of recipe); 2.2 g protein; 7.1 g fat; 10.2 g carbohydrate; 6.9 g net carbs; 170 mg sodium; 0 mg cholesterol; 3.3 g fiber



<Ingredients>
For dengaku miso


(Makes about 3 tbsp dengaku miso; enough for 6 servings)

1 tbsp Saikyo miso
1 tbsp aka miso [red miso]
1 tbsp sake
1 tbsp mirin
1/2 tsp tahini or white nerigoma sesame paste
2 tbsp dashi

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Whole recipe above: 159 calories; 4.8 g protein; 3.4 g fat; 21.8 g carbohydrate; 20.0 g net carbs; 1,016 mg sodium; 0 mg cholesterol; 1.8 g fiber

1/2 tbsp, for one cut of eggplant in nasu no dengaku recipe below: 27 calories; 0.8 g protein; 0.6 g fat; 3.6 g carbohydrate; 3.3 g net carbs; 169 mg sodium; 0 mg cholesterol; 0.3 g fiber


For nasu no degaku


6-8 cm American eggplant (middle section; 250 g in photo)
1 tbsp dengaku miso (not in photo)
1 tbsp oil (not in photo)
1/2 tsp keshi no mi white poppy seeds (for garnish; not in photo)


<Directions>
1.

In a stove-top resistant container or small pan, put all ingredients for dengaku miso, except dashi, and mix well.

Heat on low and stir until glossy, several minutes.
Remove from heat, and set aside.


2.

Cut eggplant crosswise in half.
Make cuts inside along skin and crisscross cuts on both surfaces.
These cuts make eggplant easy to eat when dividing it with chopsticks.


Remove outer skin in stripe pattern (optional).


3.

In a frying pan, heat oil, and saute both sides of eggplant on medium to medium high heat.

Cover, reduce heat to medium low, and cook until soft.



4.

Meanwhile, add dashi to dengaku miso, mix well, and heat.

Simmer for a few minutes to thicken somewhat (to consistency of mayonnaise or ketchup).
Keep warm.


5.

When eggplant is done, plate, top each cut with 1/2 tbsp dengaku miso.
Sprinkle poppy seeds.
Serve hot.


<Notes>
  • Dengaku miso is a sweetened miso topping for cooked tofu, konnyaku and vegetables (satoimo baby taro root and eggplant are common choices). Any miso of your choice works fine. Above, I used Saikyo miso for a sweet note and red miso for its sharp taste, which goes well with eggplant and also tastes great anytime during the summer.  Tahini is for additional complexity. At restaurants, a small amount of egg yolk is often added to dengaku miso.
  • When using skinny eggplant, it is usually cut in half lengthwise and cooked.
  • Dengaku dishes are sometimes grilled after being topped with sweet miso for an extra toasty note.
  • Loosening dengaku miso with dashi makes it easier to spread.
  • Other than white poppy seeds (available at Indian grocery stores in the US), kinome young sansho leaves are a common garnish. When neither is available, some people use white sesame seeds. Or you can forget about garnish altogether. 
  • Peeled eggplant surfaces quickly absorb oil, so sauteing on relatively high heat prevents eggplant from becoming oily.
  • The expression "dengaku" itself refers to a traditional performing art that dates back to the 10th-11th century. When used in the context of food, it means vegetables or tofu topped with sweet miso. According to Tofu Hyakuchin [100 tofu dishes], a book published in 1782, the dish was named after a dengaku performer who appeared in Taiheiki, a 14th century literary work. Tofu was cut into thick sticks, grilled on skewers and served with sweet miso on top. People associated its look with the knickerbockers costume of the performer. Today, dengaku on skewers is still considered more authentic, but skewers are not essential as long as it comes with sweet miso on top. 

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