Indonesian-style Eggplant with Red Miso Sauce
- 1 to 1 1/2 pounds fresh, firm eggplants (I use 3-4 medium sized ones; Japanese-style are also nice but should be prepared differently, see below)
- 6-8 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 hot, fresh red chili peppers
- 1 tablespoon dark red barley miso
- 1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 shallots, peeled, halved and sliced
- 1/2 cup water
- Prepare the eggplants: If using conventional or medium-sized eggplants, quarter them lengthwise and cut the quarters into one-inch chunks. Place on a baking sheet lined with foil and sprayed with oil spray, and broil about 5 inches from the heat for 10 minutes. Make sure not to burn them. Turn off the broiler, and turn the oven to 350 and back for 10 minutes. They should be tender, but if not, leave them in the turned off oven and they will soften considerably. (You could also cook them on a grill.)
- If using long, thin Japanese eggplants, slice them into 1/2 inch disks and saute them on medium-high heat in a large nonstick skillet, sprayed with oil spray, until tender and browned, about 10-15 minutes.
- While the eggplants are cooking, using a mortar and pestle pound the garlic with the chilies and a pinch of salt until you have a paste. Add the miso and pound a bit until almost homogeneous. (If you don't have a mortar and pestle, you can use a mini-chopper or make a paste on a cutting board using the side of a broad knife or cleaver.)
- After the eggplants are tender, heat the oil on medium in a nonstick skillet and add the shallots. Saute until soft and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes.
- Add the paste from the mortar and stir about 2 minutes until the aroma changes, indicating that the garlic is no longer raw.
- Add the eggplant and stir until it is well incorporated. Add the water and cook on high until most of it evaporates and you have a thick sauce and the eggplant is tender. If it needs more time, add a bit more water and repeat.
- Serves 4-6 as a side dish and goes very well with rice.