My trip is only a week away! Buenos Aires is nearly here…or, I’m nearly there? It is weird, to think I’m going to be in a whole new environment. New smells, language, customs. Argentina is well known for it’s beef production. The Spanish conquistadors brought cows to the country in the early 1500′ and now Argentina has the worlds 2nd highest consumption of cattle. Why am I going there, you ask? Well, the vegan scene is burgeoning rapidly in Buenos Aires, and I want to speak to the people that are making this happen, in what has been predominately a country of meat-heads. I want to see if the new wave of vegans can make Argentina forgo their massive export revenue and become plant loving, tempeh making exporters instead. Excited (and optimistic)!
In preparation for my trip I am scrubbing my place from top to bottom, and abstaining from buying any more cupboard staples until I’ve used up the food I already have. I was inspired then, to make a Japanese dish when I came across a thin packet of bean curd skin, known as yuba, slipped beneath my silicone chocolate making molds. I’d sampled and loved yuba whilst in San Fransico last year, made by a Hoodo Soy out of Oakland, so I put it on my list of ‘ingredients to try’. I’d stashed some in my food drawer and promptly forgotten about it. When a craving hit for aubergine, I decided to have a Japanese night to use up the yuba and try something new.
This is what I made….. It is low fat, gluten free and vegan.
Nasu Dengaku. It is a very, very simple and tasty dish. Not much involved with the preparation and the sauce takes about three minutes to prepare and cook. How easy is that?!
The flavours really took me out of my food rut, which is a blessing. Writing about food, I have to keep my ideas fresh and be keen to experiment, otherwise there would be no blog! I made a bok choy sauté with a fresh limey dressing to go with it, the recipe for that is further down.
This meal is mostly a ‘pop in the oven and forget about it..for half an hour’ type of affair. Great for a mid-week meal.
2 med aubergines
2 spring/scallion onion
2 Tbs miso (most recipes called for white miso which is sweeter but I only had dark to hand)
8 Tbs mirin
4 tsp sugar (I used zero calorie xylitol, a healthier alternative made from birch sap. Great for diabetics and those wishing to loose weight…it worked better than I expected).
1 Tbs sesame oil
1 Tbs sesame seeds
Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees.
1. slice the aubergines to 1.5 inch thick (or if you prefer, slice lengthways) and then score the tops with a criss cross pattern, careful not to cut the skin. Brush with the oil and pop into the oven for 30-35mins until beginning to collapse/soften.
2. meanwhile put the miso, mirin and sugar into a pan and bring to the boil. Simmer for a minute, until the miso has melted and begins to thicken.
3. when the aubergine is ready, remove from the oven and pour over the hot sauce. Sprinkle the aubergine steaks with sesame seeds and the chopped spring onion (scallion). Serve.
If you want to make a vibrant Japanese salad to accompany it (you so do), and see how I faired with the yuba, then read on.
The layers of flavour combinations are so distinct and fresh, it was a wonderful vacation for my tastebuds. The thick, almost caramel taste of the aubergine sauce is really complimented by the slightly sharp dressing. The ‘meaty’ texture of the yuba and eggplant (aubergine) sop up the flavours like a sponge make for a very interesting but very easy supper. Sure to be loved by ‘meat heads’ and veggies alike.
thanks to Azelias Kitchen for the inspiration
Leave a comment if you like. I like!
India Leigh xx