Thursday, March 1, 2012

Eggplant with Tofu, Pork & Miso

I love eggplant.
I think eggplant and miso go good together.

At our house, we call this dish--and pretty much any dish made in a skillet with everything mixed together--Okazu. In Japanese-American households, okazu is a general dish to go with rice. I made a different type of okazu the first month I started blogging. This one is Eggplant with Tofu, Pork & Miso.

My husband likes this dish--it's got just a little bit of meat and lots of flavor.
You can garnish the dish with a little bit of daikon fukujinzuke--Japanese pickle--for color.

Ingredients:

2 eggplants
canola oil
thinly sliced pork or ground pork
1 block medium tofu
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 to 2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup mirin
2 tablespoons miso

garnish with thinly sliced green onions & toasted sesame seeds

 Peel the eggplant and slice into 1/2 inch rounds.

 Preheat the broiler to high. Put the eggplant slices into a large bowl of water and soak them for 5 minutes or so. This will take any bitterness out--when you drain the water it will be tinged a little dark. After draining them, put the slices on a baking sheet and brush them with a little oil on each side.

 Broil for about 5 minutes on each side, or until browned. I put the two pans in the oven at once, so the pan on the second rack will be hot and take less time to brown when the top one is done and I move the bottom one to the top.

They don't have to be real soft because you're going to cook them just a bit more when you add them to the pan. You could cook the eggplant in the skillet, you don't have to cook them this way in the broiler--I did it this way when I made Moussaka, and liked the technique because it uses less oil.

Slice the eggplant into bite-sized pieces and set aside.

I bought this thinly sliced pork at Nijiya Market. It's .380 of a pound, so it's not a lot, but it was enough for my husband and I with leftovers. You can also slice a slightly frozen pork chop into thin slices, that works too, or use ground pork.

 Cut the slices in half.

 Grate the ginger for about 2 teaspoons and mince the garlic for about the same.

Saute the ginger and garlic in a little bit of oil, then add the sliced pork, separating the slices. It will cook fast since it's so thin.

 Add the eggplant.

 Drain the water from the tofu, cut it into cubes and add it to the pan.

 Mix 2 tablespoons miso with 1/4 cup mirin, 2 tablespoons shoyu and 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar.
It's helpful to mix the miso with a little bit of water first, so it incorporates into the sauce smoothly.

I just mixed them in the empty tofu container. I forgot to mix the miso with a little water first--it takes a little more stirring if you forget to mix it with water!

 
Add the miso sauce and add about 1 cup of water so there's some sauce. Heat gently until simmering, but you don't want to boil the miso. Taste and adjust seasonings. I like to sprinkle it with a pinch of chili flakes.

Garnish with thinly sliced green onions.

Sprinkle with some toasted sesame seeds and add tsukemono,  kizami shoga or some slices of sushi ginger. Serve with hot rice and maybe some sliced cucumbers.

Itadakimasu!


***

The other day, the neighbor kids came over to visit. You might remember Lilian and David from the Gyoza post, you meet them after the recipe.

We don't see them everyday like we used to when they first moved into the house next door and were in junior high--now they're in high school, in the band, studying & with their friends--but they still make time for us. We're kind of like their surrogate grandparents.

 Lilian is always so nice to help me so I can take photos of the shirts I make for craft shows.

David liked to come over and swim with Dixie when he was younger. What a fun summer that was!

 When Lilian and David come over after school, they're hungry, and it's fun to feed them.
I asked Lilian if she wanted to bake and she excitedly chose Chocolate Mint Mochi Cake.

 We had just enough time to make and bake the cake before they had to go home for dinner.


When the cake was in the oven, Lilian played the piano for me--she played 5 pieces from her Certificate of Merit recital. I like this Chopin piece and a Bach piece the best. The video is a little shaky--I took it with my phone and hand-held it. I think Lilian plays beautifully. When she first moved here from Taiwan, and didn't have her piano yet, she practiced everyday at our house. What a treat that was!

 Later, David came over. While we waited for the cake to bake, Lilian took this picture. David loves Dixie--he got down on the floor so he could take a picture with her--I would make her get up, but David got down there with her because she was resting.

 David's gotten so tall, he's almost taller than Gary.
It was only a couple of years ago that David would come over almost everyday after school wearing his rollerblades, to help Gary around the yard--trimming the plants and helping to remove the spider webs from under the eaves.

 Lilian wanted me to take their picture--I told them to put their heads together and this was their reaction.

 Just kidding--they like each other.

 Mostly.

 When the cake was done, they had to go home and get ready for dinner.
Thanks for coming over, Lilian and David, come over again soon!


***


Eggplant with Tofu, Pork & Miso

Ingredients:

2 large eggplants
canola oil
thinly sliced pork or ground pork
1 block medium tofu
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 to 2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup mirin
2 tablespoons miso

garnish with thinly sliced green onions & toasted sesame seeds

Preheat broiler to high. Peel the eggplant and slice into 1/2 inch rounds. Put the eggplant slices into a large bowl of water and soak them for 5 minutes or so. This will take any bitterness out--when you drain the water it will be tinged a little dark. After draining them, put the slices on a baking sheet and brush them with a little oil on each side.  Broil for about 5 minutes on each side, or until browned. Slice the eggplant into bite-sized pieces and set aside. 

In a hot skillet over medium-high heat, saute the garlic and ginger with a little bit of oil but do not brown, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the pork slices and saute, separating the slices. Add the eggplant and tofu, combine, and turn heat to medium-low.

Mix the miso with a little bit of water so it's easier to combine with the sugar, soy sauce and mirin. Add to the eggplant mixture and simmer, adding about 1 cup of water. Heat through, but do not bring to full boil. 

Garnish with thinly sliced green onion and toasted sesame seeds. Serve with hot rice.

3 comments:

  1. Lilian plays beautifully! David is so sweet to get down on the floor with Dixie for the picture! Cute kids!

    Delicious - eggplant!!! :)

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  2. I love eggplant too, and this recipe might actually be successful in my house. My husband is convinced that eggplant is girl food. Maybe with a bit of meat in it, he'll change his mind.

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