Friday, January 16, 2009

Nasu Dengaku - My Version

Nasu Dengaku is a delicious dish of eggplant broiled with miso. I love eggplant done this way for the creamy texture of the eggplant and the richness of the miso when grilled. Whilst usually a side dish, I like to have it as the main event, accompanied by pan fried chicken and tofu steaks. I also add, unconventionally, parmesan cheese when broiling the eggplant which forms a beautifully salty crust that I think is great with the sweetness of the miso.


For the nasu dengaku
1 medium sized eggplant cut into 1.5 inch steaks (rub with salt, leave for 15 minutes, rinse off and pat dry with kitchen paper)
1 tablespoon white miso (or shiromiso)
2 teaspoons fine sugar
3 tablespoons mirin
2 tablespoons sake
1 handful of grated parmesan (as usual, try to get your hands on parmigiano reggiano)
mixture of corn and plain flour for coating

For the tofu steaks
1 block of firm tofu cut into 1 inch steaks (wrap in kitchen paper and place a weight on top to drain excess liquid)
2 cloves finely minced garlic
mixture of corn and plain flour for coating
salt and pepper to taste

For the pan fried chicken
1 free range chicken breast cut into 4 one inch thick steaks
1 tablespoon mirin
1 tablespoon sake
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
few drops of sesame oil

1. Lightly coat the eggplant in the flour mixture and pan fry over medium high heat until golden brown (you don't have to cook this completely). Stick these into your oven grill at its lowest setting.
2. Coat tofu in garlic, seasonings and flour mixture - then pan fry till golden brown. Cover in foil and leave under grill to keep warm.
3. Marinate chicken for at least 20 minutes and then pan fry quickly in a hot pan, turning over several times to prevent burning. Cover with foil to rest and set aside.
4. Mix miso topping (excluding cheese) and cover eggplant steaks. Turn grill to a medium heat and cook for a further 5 minutes (by which time the miso should be bubbling). In the mean time, simmer the remaining miso sauce in a pan until alcohol has burned off. Then, sprinkle eggplant with parmesan cheese generously and place under grill again under the highest setting - this should only take around 2-3 minutes until a crust forms.
5. To serve, slice chicken diagonally and place at centre of plate, place grilled eggplant on top. Place tofu steaks around the plate. Drizzle remaining miso sauce on plate and garnish with more parmesan cheese and finely sliced spring onions.


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