I’ve been having a bit of a love affair with my wok the past few weeks.
I often get into an obsession with one appliance or cooking utensil and use it over and over until I’m sick of it. Do you do that?
For the past fortnight it has been my wok. I’ve used it for stir frying (obviously), steaming, deep frying (oops, naughty) and making omelettes.
They are GREAT for making omelettes. You know the chunky oval ones that chefs make at hotel buffet breakfasts where they push all the egg mixture to one corner and the result is a fat, fluffy cylinder of egg? Those. Are. Yum. If you don’t know what the hell I’m talking about, watch this.
But back to today’s recipe.
It’s only been a few short months, but I’m already craving really good Japanese food from Sydney. So when I saw some beautiful glossy Japanese eggplants at the farmers market last weekend I immediately starting thinking about one of my favourite Japanese dishes: grilled eggplant with miso sauce.
But then when it came to dinner time, I realised that, actually, I fancied noodles – and there was some leftover kale to use up.
So I got out my trusty wok with the vague notion that I would ‘do something with eggplant, miso, kale and rice noodles’.
I just love cooking by the seat of my pants!
The deep frying of the eggplant is not entirely necessary, but I really love the silky texture it creates. Skip it if you are watching your weight.
If you don’t have kale, substitute with bok choy, gai larn, basil or just leave the green element out completely if you are one of those weirdos that doesn’t like them. Sorry, that was a bit harsh on you. Apologies.
In the end it wasn’t the dish I originally craved, but was definitely a great mid-week dinner to whip up in a hurry, and just perfect for Meatless Mondays!
What is your favourite Japanese dish? And do you use your wok often?
Miso eggplant with rice noodles
serves 2 (can be doubled or tripled)
- 2 Japanese eggplants (300g), sliced into 1 cm discs
- 3 tablespoons white (shiro) miso paste
- 1.5 tablespoons caster sugar
- 60ml (1/4 cup) mirin
- 30ml (1/8 cup) sake or white wine
- 60ml (1/4 cup) cold tap water
- 250ml (1 cup) rice bran or vegetable oil
- 1 small bunch kale (100g), washed and roughly chopped
- 200g dried rice noodles, soaked in boiling water for 10 minutes, then drained
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1. Place the eggplant in a large bowl and cover with cold tap water. Allow to soak while you make the sauce. This is a Japanese method for removing the bitterness from eggplant.
2. Meanwhile, make the sauce. Place the miso paste, sugar, mirin, sake (or wine) and water into a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk until smooth then bring to the boil, stirring often. Boil hard for 2 minutes then turn the heat down to low and simmer gently for 3 minutes, stirring often. Set aside.
3. Drain the eggplant and wrap up in a clean tea towel. Pat to thoroughly dry. This is important to ensure they don’t splatter too much in the next step.
4. Heat a wok until smoking, then pour in the oil. Allow to heat for 2 minutes until very hot. Carefully slide in the eggplant pieces using a large metal slotted spoon – careful they will spit! Deep fry* for 3-4 minutes until very silky soft and and golden. Removed with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Drain the wok of oil and wipe clean.
5. Heat the wok again. Place the eggplant back into the wok, along with the kale. Stir fry for 1 minute until the kale is wilted. Pour over the sauce and throw in the pre-soaked rice noodles. Stir gently, trying not to break up the eggplant. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.
*It is possible to skip this step if you like. Simply add only 1 tablespoon of oil to the wok and stir fry the eggplant for 3-4 minutes until soft and golden instead. Proceed with step 5 by adding the kale.
Looking for more eggplant recipes? You might like these: