6 Asian eggplants
2-4 tablespoons neutral oil
3cm piece ginger, chopped
¼ cup miso
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons mirin
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
1½ cups (300g) sushi/short grain rice
5g kombu
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
250g mince, pork or chicken
4 spring onions, finely sliced, green and white parts separated
2 cloves garlic, chopped
100g shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon mirin
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon mirin
1 tablespoon lemon juice or rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon neutral oil such as sunflower
1 teaspoon sesame oil
½ cup edamame beans
200g green beans or snow peas
100g sunflower or pea sprouts or pea tendrils

Using a roll-cutting technique to cut long, thin Chinese or Japanese eggplants gives you a lot of surface area to brown nicely and soak up the sauce flavours. Cut this way it is great for stir-frying or browning and then braising as in this recipe. This miso-braised eggplant is served with a Japanese-style sticky rice; using white sushi rice gives you a stickier texture, brown sushi rice stays firmer. To make this recipe plant based/vegan you can replace the mince with crumbled firm tofu or tempeh or even just increase the quantity of mushroom and kombu.


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2.Place an eggplant on a chopping board and slice one slice off diagonally.
3.Roll the eggplant over a half turn and cut again at the same angle, making a triangular piece of eggplant about 4-5cm long.
4.Keep rolling and cutting with the rest of the eggplants.
5.Take a frying pan with a lid, add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan and heat to medium-hot.
6.Add the eggplant and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes until browned.
7.Stir in the ginger then lower the temperature to low and add ½ cup water then the miso, soy and mirin.
8.Cover and braise, stirring occasionally, until very tender, about 10-15 minutes depending on the size of the eggplant.
9.Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve with the sticky rice and a green bean salad.
11.Put the rice in a bowl, cover well with cold water, stir around with your fingers then drain off the cloudy water.
12.Repeat this process a few times until the water is fairly clear, then drain the rice into a sieve and set aside to drain well.
13.Put the kombu in a saucepan and cover with 600ml water.
14.Put over a low heat and slowly bring to a simmer (this should take about 15 minutes), then turn off the heat and let sit for at least 15 minutes.
15.Remove the kombu (reserving the water), finely slice and set aside.
16.Measure out 550ml kombu water into a saucepan and add the drained rice and the salt.
17.Bring to the boil then cover and lower the heat to the lowest simmer and cook for 10 minutes (25 minutes for brown rice) while you prepare the topping.
18.Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat.
19.Add the mince, if using, and cook for 5 minutes until brown.
20.Stir in the white part of the spring onion and the garlic and stir fry for a minute.
21.Add the shiitake and stir fry for another few minutes then remove from the heat.
22.Stir in the soy and mirin and deglaze the pan, scraping all the bits from the bottom, then finally add the sliced kombu.
23.Uncover the rice and spoon over the shiitake-kombu mixture.
24.Cover again and cook for a further 10 minutes, then turn off the heat and leave undisturbed for 5 minutes.
25.Add the rice wine vinegar and toss then scatter with spring onion greens to serve.
27.Put the soy sauce, mirin, lemon juice or vinegar, oil and sesame oil in a small jar and shake well to combine.
28.Cook the edamame in boiling water for 3-4 minutes, drain, refresh under cold water then drain well.
29.Cook the green beans for 2 minutes or the snow peas for 30 seconds in boiling water, drain, refresh under cold water then drain well.
30.Put the edamame, beans or snow peas and sprouts or pea tendrils in a serving bowl and toss with the dressing.

Recipes & food styling Fiona Smith Photography Aaron McLean / Styling Fiona Lascelles