Japanese Eggplant Stuffed with Dengaku Tofu

By Miyoko Schinner author, Artisan Vegan Life

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To make sure this doesn’t get lost in translation, dengaku is a sweet miso sauce that often accompanies grilled eggplant or tofu. I’ve combined them all here in my spin on traditional Japanese flavors, by stuffing roasted eggplant with a mashed tofu laced with dengaku sauce. It’s savory and delicious, and can be served hot or at room temperature, as an appetizer or an entrée with a side dish or brown rice or other grain.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Cut the eggplants in half, and use a sharp knife to make hash-marks on the cut side. Lightly brush the cut surfaces with sesame oil, and sprinkle with salt. Place them cut-side down on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, and roast until tender, between 15 to 25 minutes, depending on the size of the eggplants. Remove from the oven, and let them cool enough to be able to handle them without burning your hands. Using a spoon, scoop out flesh, leaving a little on the skins so they don’t fall apart. Roughly chop the eggplant meat, reserving the skins for stuffing later.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the miso, syrup, and mirin, and stir to make a paste. Crumble the tofu, or smash lightly with a fork. Add the tofu and chopped eggplant to the miso mixture, and mix well. Stuff the eggplant skins with this mixture, and sprinkle with black sesame seeds. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes until the tops are slightly browned.

3 small eggplants (about 12 ounces each), or 6 to 8 Japanese or Italian eggplants

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

3 tablespoons miso

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 tablespoon mirin

8 ounces medium or regular tofu (not extra firm)

1 teaspoon black sesame seeds