Teriyaki aubergine

*** Disclaimer – this is a sponsored post. I received a free bottle of Hon Mirin and took part in an online cook along. The recipe posted in this post is from the Sozai Cooking School and not my own. However, the comments and recommendations are my own***

I’ve always wanted to know how to make a good and authentic teriyaki sauce especially as Big S has become a fan of Asian flavours, but when I’ve made versions before the resulting dishes were a bit too sweet and sickly. So I was delighted to be asked to take part in an online cook along sponsored by Hakutsuru Hon Mirin and which promised the ultimate teriyaki. 

It was a really fascinating couple of hours. I knew nothing about Mirin before the class other than the name! Now I feel that I have a little insight into this really interesting ingredient and I hope to use it in a variety of dishes. Hon Mirin is apparently very popular in Japan but hardly heard of in Europe, hence this event to celebrate Hon Mirin’s global launch. Hon Mirin (with Hon meaning real) is a sweet rice seasoning/alcohol made from glutinous rice, rice koi and alcohol. It has a pleasant sweet taste, a bit like a sweet sherry and none of the additional salt you get in cheaper alternatives.  It also has the advantage of being allergen free and contains no artificial ingredients – perfect for us. 🙂

Having used this mellow alcohol in a couple of dishes (we made minstrone soup and teriyaki) I would really recommend searching out a bottle for your store cupboard (and I’m really not saying that because I got a free bottle!). It really did add a lovely umami richness to both dishes and the shine in the teriyaki sauce was outstanding. Right now, Hon Mirin is only available on the TK Trading website, but hopefully it’ll become more widely available as more people come across it’s versatility. I really didn’t think it would add much to a minestrone soup but actually the mellow sweetness was a nice addition that enhanced the tomato flavour.

If you’re interested in learning more Japanese cooking skills then do check out the Sozai cooking school which runs lots of interesting online cook alongs, the instructor in my class was really knowledgeable and a great teacher.

I’m posting the teriyaki aubergine recipe from the Sozai cooking school, but if you wanted to use chicken or salmon, simple cut into bite sized pieces and then follow the instructions below.

Teriyaki Aubergine

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

serves 2

7 tbsp Hon Mirin

2 tbsp water

3 tbsp soy sauce

1 aubergine, sliced in half lengthways

1-2 tbsp cornflour

  1. Mix together the Hon Mirin, water and soya sauce and set aside
  2. Score the aubergine flesh and then dust all sides with cornflour
  3. Heat some flavourless oil on a medium to high heat and cook the aubergine on both sides until golden and throughly cooked through. This will take 5 or so minute son each side. Remove from the pan.
  4. Wipe out the pan to remove any excess cornflour. Return the aubergine to the pan and add the teriyaki sauce. Cook on a medium to high heat, basting the aubergine until the sauce has reduced and you have a sticky soft aubergine.
  5. Serve with rice and steamed green veg.

Teriyaki aubergine skewers

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Teriyaki – full of umami and lip smackingly good! I nearly used tofu, but aubergine won in the end, partly because the triangles on the skewers look so pretty. It is essential that the aubergine is thoroughly cooked to give that slightly burnt on the outside, but slippery silky centre that only a good aubergine can provide. If it’s undercooked the aubergine remains woolly and squeaky – not a pleasant taste experience.

I cooked these in the oven, but the flames of a barbecue would be a great alternative for providing even more flavour.

Teriyaki Aubergine (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, can be gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)N.B. contains soya

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For the teriyaki:

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (use a gluten-free brand to make the dish gluten-free)
  • 3 tbsp soft brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp mirin or sherry
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp honey/maple syrup/agave nectar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp corn flour

– Dissolve the cornflour in the water
– Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and gently cook until the mixture starts to thicken.
– Set aside

For the skewers:

  • 1 aubergine, cut into chunky slices, then each slice quartered
  • 1 tbsp salt

– Place the aubergine in a colander in the sink, sprinkle over the salt and leave for 30 minutes to extract any juices
– Wash and dry
– Thread onto skewers and brush with the teriyaki
– Leave to marinade for at least 30 minutes
– Roast in the oven for 20-30 minutes at 180 degrees centigrade until very soft in the centres

To serve:

– Plain white or sticky rice
– Finely sliced spring onion

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Moroccan Spiced Chickpea and Aubergine Salad

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Spring has sprung! Time to dust off some salad recipes and replace the comfort foods with more fresh vibrancy. When my mother in law went to Morocco last year she bought us back heaps of spices which need using up. They came freshly ground straight from the souq – wonderful, but are losing potency by the day. I had intended to use some ras el hanout in this recipe but really didnt enjoy my first batch of dressing – maybe this particular blend wasn’t quite to my taste, or maybe the batch had already gone off? Anyway, batch number two was, in my opinion, far more enjoyable – probably not terribly authentic but I combined cumin, coriander and sweet paprika and I found it worked beautifully with the chickpeas and aubergines.

I’ve always said aubergine is a tricky vegetable to get right, but again here it comes into its own.

Moroccan Spiced Chickpea and Aubergine Salad (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

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serves at least 4

  • 1 aubergine, cubed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tin chickpeas, drained
  • 3 spring onions, sliced
  • 1 large handful fresh coriander, leaves picked
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt

– Salt the aubergine cubes for 1/2 an hour to remove any bitter juices. Rinse and dry.
– Fry the aubergine in the olive oil until golden on all sides.
– Drain on kitchen paper
– Meanwhile, make the dressing: whisk together the lemon, sunflower oil, paprika, cumin, ground coriander, vinegar and salt.
– Place the chickpeas, spring onions and aubergine in a bowl.
– Pour over the dressing and combine well.
– Leave to marinade at room temperature for at least half an hour
– Before serving toss through the fresh coriander leaves

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Jamaican spiced jerk Aubergine Skewers

July has started with blazing sunshine. It’s quite a relief after months of cold, wet weather. We certainly needed some rays and heat. And what better food to eat when it’s hot and sunny than spicy Caribbean food? Spice and sunshine take me away to turquoise seas and dusty streets.

I can’t claim any authenticity, this is my take on a jerk-seasoned recipe. In fact I used a ready made dry jerk spice rub and added some of my own sweet and sour flavourings as well. Aubergine skewers look gorgeous I think – lovely roasted in the oven, but even better on a barbecue.

Jerk Aubergine Skewers (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

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  • 2 tsp jerk spice
  • 2 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tbs lemon thyme, finely chopped
  • 1 dried chilli
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 Aubergine

– Cut the aubergine into even sized chunks, place in a colander and pour over the 1 tbsp salt.

– Leave for about half an hour

– Meanwhile, mix together the rest of the ingredients

– Rinse and dry the aubergine cubes.

– Thread onto skewers

– Brush all over with the marinade and leave for at least 1 hour

– BBQ or roast in a hot oven for 20 minutes

– Serve with Jamaican style rice and peas.

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Baba Ghanoush

I was looking for a hummus replacement for little S who is allergic to sesame. I’ve tried tahini-free hummus but it never seems to work (if anyone has a recipe that’s worth trying, please let me know!). I’ve also got a great bean dip recipe but it isn’t quite Mediterranean enough to fill the hummus gap. So, inspired by Celia Brookes Brown New Vegetarian – I seriously love this cookbook – I whipped up a dairy/sesame-free Baba Ghanoush. I thought it was delicious, Little S wasn’t impressed!! Maybe next time she’ll like it a bit more…

Baba Ghanoush (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

Makes enough for a small crowd to dip!

  • 1 aubergine
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/4-1/2 clove of garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsps soya yogurt (I used Alpro)
  • salt and pepper

– Preheat the oven to very high, approx. 220 degrees centigrade/Gas Mark 7

– Halve the aubergine and score the flesh. Drizzle generously with olive oil and bake for 20-30 minutes, until golden

– Let cool a little, then scrape out the flesh. Discard the skins.

– Place in a food processor/blender (or mash). Add the extra virgin olive oil, soya yogurt, lemon juice, minced garlic and seasoning. Blend until a smooth puree. Adjust seasoning.

– Transfer to a pretty bowl and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.

– Serve with toasted pittas, crackers, crudites or even crisps.