Miso is the perfect balance of salty, sweet, fruity and savoury. This sheer complexity of flavour is like no other and is a formidable match for the full-bodied silkiness of eggplant.
What to do
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
2. Peel strips of skin from the eggplant, from top to bottom, so it leaves a stripy pattern. Cut into 2 cm cubes and place on a baking tray. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and roast for 20â€“25 minutes or until tender. Remove from the oven, place in a colander, sprinkle liberally with salt and allow to cool.
3. Place the eschalots and the remaining oil in a large pan and sauté on medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Once they soften up, add the ginger and garlic and cook on low heat for another 5 minutes. Add the miso paste, dashi, mirin, soy sauce, caster sugar and sake and stir well to combine. Cook for a couple of minutes until the mixture thickens slightly. Finally, add the roasted eggplant to the miso sauce and combine well.
4. Meanwhile, in a pot of salted boiling water, cook the soba noodles according to packet instructions (soba noodles usually require only 5-6 minutes of cooking). Drain the noodles and refresh slightly in cold water.
5. Combine the soba noodles, miso eggplant and Chinese shallots and season well. Place on a serving plate and scatter over the walnuts.
This recipe appears in Hetty’s new cookbook, Community, available now from Pan MacMillan.