The Japanese love their eggplant (or nasu as it's called locally). It's far more a part of Japanese cookery than it is here in the UK, which is a shame for the Brits because aubergine is very good for you. Traditionally, aubergine was thought to have a cooling effect on the body (because of its high water content) but modern science shows it's also high in vitamin B6 and C as well as minerals like potasium and manganese.
Not only that, the flesh is soft and easily absorbs any flavouring you cook it with. I think that in part, the Brits distaste for aubergine may be due to the difference in variety - Japanese nasu tend to be smaller, taste less bitter and have a thinner skin than the European aubergine. Having said that, I use aubergine in my cooking here in the UK and I find they are just as "oishii" (tasty), if you treat them properly. The key thing to do is neutralise that bitter tang by soaking your aubergine pieces after cutting in water for 10-20 minutes - you'll be surprised how effective this little trick is.
This recipe, nabe shigi (meaning "pan cooked"), combines eggplant with bell pepper and onion in sweet miso. It's a great way to get three of your 'five a day' and, as I've presented it here, this dish makes a great vegetarian option party food or first course or, as it would be served in Japan, as one of a number of side dishes. I dressed the dish I made with a little chopped spring onion but it's great without as well.
If you want to give this a try, you can find the written recipe just below and the Youtube tutorial by clicking Eggplant and Pepper Nabe Shigi or just scroll to the bottom of the page.
Happy cooking! Kurumi XXXX.
If you want to see some other Japanese inspired aubergine dishes, why not try my Fried Aubergine in Ponzu dressing?
Eggplant and Pepper Nabe Shigi
(makes 2 servings as a starter)
50g peeled onion
60g green pepper
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp miso
1 tbsp mirin
1 tsp sugar
dice the aubergine into 1 cm pieces and soak in water for 10 mins
roughly chop the onion
slice and cut the pepper into 1cm pieces
heat the sesame oil in a pan, add the onion and fry for 1 min
add the aubergine and fry for 1 min
add the pepper and fry for 1-2 mins
add the miso, mirin & sugar and stir fry for 1 min longer
serve as a starter or as a side dish