Miso aubergine with ginger tofu and adzuki beans

Miso aubergine with ginger tofu and adzuki beans

Cut the Carbs!

The appeal of nasu dengaku is largely textural: it’s hard to turn away from a plinth of scored aubergine capped with a glaze of sticky miso. What it needs to transform it from a winning snack to a proper meal is some substance. Enter adzuki beans. Adzuki beans may physically resemble black beans, but their taste is milder and naturally sweeter. Cook them in the same pot in which you made your glaze and you’ll end up with a terrific tumble of taste and texture. I find if I add a small rectangle of grilled tofu and a salad of raw mangetout and cucumber dressed with yuzu, I’ve got all bases covered. Remember, one joy of miso paste is that it’s already fermented and won’t go off, so it’s well worth keeping some tucked in the fridge in a Tupperware for when you need a quick meal.


Quantity Ingredient
2 medium aubergines
or 1 large aubergine
2 tablespoons neutral-tasting oil
5 tablespoons white miso
2cm lump of ginger root, peeled and grated
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons brown or muscovado sugar
4 tablespoons mirin rice wine
1 x 400g tin of adzuki beans, rinsed
200g firm tofu, drained and cut into 2 steaks
2 spring onions, white and green bits finely chopped
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
salad of raw mangetout and cucumber, to serve


  1. Preheat the oven to 200˚C.
  2. Lop the tops off the aubergines, then cut them into thirds, lengthways. Score the aubergine slices a few times with the tip of a sharp knife, taking care not to cut all the way through to the bottom. Brush them with the neutral-tasting oil and place them on a baking tray. Roast them in the preheated oven for 35–40 minutes, until the slices are tender when pierced.
  3. While the aubergines are roasting, put the miso, ginger, sesame oil, sugar, and 3 tablespoons of the mirin in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk to combine and allow it to warm up.
  4. When the aubergines are ready, switch the oven over to grill mode and turn it up to high.
  5. Paint the scored tops of the aubergine slices with the miso mixture and put them back on the baking tray. Add the beans to the pan you made the miso mixture in and warm them over low heat.
  6. Nestle the tofu slices in and around the aubergine slices on the tray and drizzle them with the remaining mirin. Top with the white bits of the spring onions. Place the tray under the grill and grill until the miso topping is bronzed and bubbling and the tofu is lightly tanned.
  7. Serve the grilled tofu and aubergine on the beans and topped with the sesame seeds and the green bits of the spring onions. Accompany with a mangetout and cucumber salad.


  • For this dish, be sure to have the palest ‘shiro’/white miso you can find. The regular brown miso will be too savoury for the right balance of flavours here.
low carb
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