300 grams Onionfinely diced, approx 2 medium onions
1 tablespoon Gingerpeeled, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons Garlic
2 medium eggplantabout 500 grams (1 lb) each, peeled, cut into large chunks
2 red birds eye chillis
125 millilitres Vegetable Oil
60 millilitres Mirin
1 litre Chicken Stockif using store bought stock, use a low salt variety
500 millilitres Water
1/2 tablespoon Brown Sugar
2 tablespoons red Miso paste
Although we all know spring to be the time of year when some of our favorite fruit and vegetables such as juicy apricots, crisp green beans, first season berries, sweet green peas, crunchy snow peas, juicy cucumbers and tomatoes return to our local market we can often forget about some of the less obvious spring vegetables returning to market.
Eggplant is one of those less famous vegetables that comes back into its element at this time of year. Or possibly you didn’t even know it had left, or thanks to our ever shrinking planet maybe it never did leave. If that is the case, you may ask why should I celebrate this vegetable at this time of year? Well trust me, everything tastes better when you make it in season using locally grown produce rather than produce that has flown economy-class from a far off place.
With its distinctive smoky flavor, the miso in the background and the slightest chilli kick, this soup is a perfect way to celebrate the return of good eggplant to your local market. Plus it is a pretty simple recipe and an easy way to show off!
- Cut chillies in half and rinse out seeds and membrane under running water. Chop chilly skins finely.
- In a large saucepan or stockpot, heat the vegetable oil on high heat.
- Sauté the onion until translucent, stirring regularly, (about 4 minutes).
- Add the garlic and ginger and cook for a further 1 minute.
- Add the eggplant and continue to cook, stirring continuously until the pot is dry and the eggplant starting to colour and soften.
- Deglaze the pot with the mirin.
- Add the stock and water.
- Stir in the brown sugar and miso paste.
- Bring to the boil; reduce heat to a low simmer and cook for 2 hours.
- Remove from the heat and allow the soup to cool slightly.
- Transfer to a food processor or use a hand held stick blender, process the soup until smooth.
- Return to heat to warm up.
- Taste for seasoning and adjust as required. More miso may be added if desired.
- Garnish each serving of soup with a small drizzle of sesame oil, no more than ¼ tsp will be required.
- Can be made as a vegetarian soup, using vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.