Jackfruit and Blue Ginger – a Vibrant Vegan Venture! – With a final nod to ‘Veganuary’ I felt I should share with you information about a fabulous cookery book that has been launched earlier this month. It is written by successful blogger and medical student Sasha Gill, who grew up in Singapore. Called Jackfruit and Blue Ginger, and published by Murdoch Books at £18 (hardback) it pushes the boundaries of flavour, presenting vibrant plant-based modernisations of classic dishes from India, China, Thailand, Japan, Singapore, and Malaysia. It’s a vibrant and colourful book and a truly inspirational gastronomic trip to the Far East. Not only is Sasha a talented cook, but she photographed the dishes herself too!
Aubergine is one of my all-time favourite vegetables and this recipe from Sasha really appealed to me. It is absolutely delicious, and if you make a batch, you can also eat it cold later on with salad or in a wrap.
Miso caramel aubergine
Aubergine (eggplant) is a fickle beast. It can sometimes be bitter, but if treated the right way it absorbs flavours like a sponge. This dish is part of my ongoing campaign to earn the aubergine some well-deserved glory – and nasu dengaku is good enough to sway any aubergine-hater! Let your spoon shatter the caramelised sesame ‘crust’ and sink into tender, melting aubergine flesh…
Serves 4–6 as a side Prep time: 15 minutes (plus marinating time)
Cooking time: 40 minutes
4 aubergines (eggplants), cut in half lengthwise 1⁄4 cup (70 g) miso paste 2 teaspoons sesame oil 1⁄4 cup (60 ml) maple syrup
1⁄4 cup (60 ml) warm water 1 cm ginger, finely chopped 1⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds sliced spring onion (scallion) and red chilli, to garnish
Use gluten-free miso paste.
Cut the aubergines in half lengthwise, then score each aubergine half with a diamond pattern, making sure not to cut right through to the skin.
In a bowl, whisk together the miso, sesame oil, maple syrup, warm water, ginger, and garlic powder to make a marinade. Pour into a roasting tin and lay the aubergines, scored side down, in the marinade. Leave to marinate for 1–2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Cover the roasting tin with foil and bake the aubergines for 30–35 minutes, until very tender. Remove from the oven, take off the foil and flip the aubergines over, then spoon some of the cooking juices from the tin over the aubergines. Sprinkle with a generous layer of sesame seeds, then return to the oven, uncovered, for another 5 minutes to toast the sesame seeds and give them a lovely crunch.
Serve garnished with spring onion and chilli slices. If you like, you can pour any remaining cooking juices into a small bowl and serve alongside the aubergine.