Steamed Eggplant with Miso-Tomato Sauce

steamed eggplant with miso-tomato sauce

I bought some adorable little asian eggplants, and there they lay, lingering in my fridge, waiting for me to make myself a dinner. I love asian varieties of eggplant, as they tend to be more tender, and less bitter than their larger, Italian cousins. With not much time or desire to put together a large meal for just myself, and even less desire to spend time over the stove on a sweltering 98 degree Philadelphia day, I pulled a recipe from Joe Yohan’s very fun cookbook, “Eat Your Vegetables: Bold Recipes for the Single Cook.” All recipes in this cookbook are vegetable-based, and intended for solo meals.  Not too many ingredients, not to much time, but a whole lot of flavor.

I altered the recipe a bit to use what I had available – some homemade Coconut Vinegar that my friend Joel gave me (and warned me to open quickly, as the yeast was still alive!) and some roasted almonds instead of peanuts. I also used the same pan and boiling water which I used to steam the eggplant for boiling the udon noodles. Less time – less mess! Altogether, about 6 minutes of total hands-on cooking, and a great, quick dinner.

A brief recipe summary, with my alterations:

 

Steamed Eggplant with Miso-Tomato Sauce 

One small eggplant, or a few tiny asian eggplants. Slice into rounds, salt, and steam until soft (about 20 minutes)

A nice hunk of ginger, diced, and cooked in 2 teaspoons of sesame oil until soft

2 Tbs. of miso, whisked with 1 Tbs. of vinegar (I used homemade coconut vinegar). Add the miso sauce to the ginger, stir.

A big diced tomato, or 3/4 cup organic crushed tomatoes, or tomato sauce. Added to the sauce.

1 serving of cooked udon noodles (or soba). Top the noodles with the eggplants and the sauce, and then garnish with chopped almonds (or peanuts, or roasted sesame seeds) and diced scallion.

KoJa Udon Soup

KoJa
KoJa

The UPenn area has some truly awesome foodtrucks, and this is a shout-out to one of my favorite ones – KoJa. That’s “Korean/Japanese” and they make delicious spicy noodles and this Udon soup, which I always politely order without the fishcake. This time, they threw in some extra tofu for me, just because they are nice. I always throw in some Sriracha that I keep in the fridge at work. A super $5 lunch!

Favorite Spicy Mushroom Udon Soup

Favorite Spicy Shitake Udon Miso Soup
Favorite Spicy Shitake Udon Miso Soup

The soup with knock the cold right out of you. I make everytime I feel the sniffles coming on, and much more often than that. At least 50% of the time, when I ask Senor Lanky what he wants to eat, this is what he requests.I don’t actually every use a recipe for this – I just make it as I go, so feel free to adjust the ingrediants for your preferred level of *kapow*.

Favorite Spicy Shitake Udon Soup

Serves 4

1 block extra firm tofu, presses

1 Tbs. seseme seeds

4 cloves of garlic, loosely chopped

2 Tbs. chopped fresh ginger root

1 cup assorted fresh mushrooms (shitakes are best)

3/4 c. assorted dried chinese mushrooms (shitake, black, etc.)

2 Tbs. seseme oil

6 cups water

1/2 cup soy sauce

4 Tbs. miso

2 Tbs. chili sauce (preferably pure, crushed asian chilis)

4 oz. dried udon noodles.

Cut the tofu into small blocks. Fry until golden brown in in sesame oil, adding the sesame seeds and salt and pepper to taste. Set the tofu aside.  Heat the seseme oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, ginger, and fresh mushrooms, cooking and stirring often until the mushrooms soften. Add the water, soy sauce, miso and chili sauce, whisking to misk. Add the dry mushroom, raising the heat, boil for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat, again, to medium. Add the udon noodles, cooking until just soft (about 7 minutes.) Stir in the fried tofu, and leave flame under the soup until the tofu is heated through (about 2 minutes).

Serve in large bowls, garnished with chopped fresh cilantro, fried shallots, or green onions.

Kiss that cold goodbye.