Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Miso as Marinade

After enjoying miso in a steaming cup of soup, here is another great cold-weather way of enjoying it: as a phenomenally flavorful marinade for tofu and grilled vegetables.

Anh's recipe caught my eye a few months ago. Two flavor powerhouses- tahini (sesame seed paste) and miso come together to make a rich marinade that is slathered on thick cuts of eggplant and tofu. Under the broiler, the tofu and vegetables are grilled to perfection.

I feel very sheepish admitting it here, but I only "discovered" the broiler a couple of months ago. Standard oven ranges that are found in the majority of US kitchens come with an oven. Although I will probably always be much more comfortable with stove-top cooking, it did not take me very long to start using the oven frequently. In all homes that I have lived in up to this point, the oven also has a mysterious little door at the very bottom- the broiler. Turning the oven to its "broil" function starts up a roaring fire close to the broiler. Any food that is placed in the broiler gets quickly cooked by infrared radiation and gets nicely browned to a crisp finish (and nicely charred to a lump of carbon if you turn your attention away for a few minutes).

Anyway, it has taken me years to "discover" the broiler and to start using it and enjoying it. It all sounds so silly, and I felt downright foolish until I found that she also discovered the broiler only recently. Now I feel a little better :) Anyway, knowing how to broil opens up lots of possibilities for turning out perfectly browned vegetables, melting crusty cheese, creme brulee with the crackly crust and all the rest of that.

Back to the recipe at hand. I mixed together the marinade without actually measuring out any of the ingredients; just eyeballing them. I also did not use skewers but will do so next time I make this- they do make for such a pretty presentation. Thicker slices of eggplant taste very juicy and delicious.

Miso-Slathered Tofu and Eggplant

(Adapted from Anh's recipe )
1. Take one medium eggplant and slice it into thick slices. Drain 1 box of extra-firm tofu and cut it into thick slabs. Pat the slabs to wick off as much liquid as possible.
2. In a small saucepan, combine tahini, white miso, sugar, rice wine vinegar, red pepper flakes and vegetable stock (all to taste) to make a thick paste. Warm the sauce until the ingredients blend together well. Set aside.
3. Lightly grease a broiler-safe pan and turn on the broiler. Lay the slices of eggplant in a single layer. Smear each slice with the marinade and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Broil for 5 minutes or so, until the top is starting to brown. Turn over, smear again with marinade and broil until tender.
4. Broil the tofu the same way, although tofu takes slightly less time.
5. Serve right away!

I served the broiled tofu and eggplant with some fried rice made with brown rice, for a delicious and wholesome meal. Each bite of the luscious tofu and eggplant brings home the meaning of the word "umami".

Other ideas for cooking tofu with miso:

My friend Kamini recommends this Miso Baked Tofu recipe.

Skillet Seared Tofu with Miso Sauce- Deborah Madison's recipe shared on "Albion Cooks".

This Nobu style Tofu with Miso Sauce sounds delicious too.

***Two Quick Reminders***

Last call for the Menu for Hope 4- Go grab those awesome prizes by buying raffle tickets here (and share a nutritious meal with a little schoolchild in the bargain).

Best of 2007: All food bloggers are invited to showcase the year of food on their blog. The deadline for the event is December 30th.

(My attempt at) A sweet and crunchy treat will be coming up in a couple of days. See you then!


  1. Brilliant idea, this sounds delicious!

  2. brilliant - our favourite dish with thayir sadam (curd dish) is eggplants broiled with a marinade - in fact we're so fond of this dish, it turns up at at least one meal in a given week as a starter, side dish or evening snack - now i have one more delicious marinade

  3. This is a standard weeknight dinner for me (with a side of a salad or something). I am a bit scared of my broiler - it's very old and crotchety - but I watch it like a hawk...

  4. PS - I pan-fry the eggplant first though as five minutes under the broiler isn't enough to get it soft. I pan-fry it, then slather it with miso marinade, then broil it.

  5. another chump who discovered about the broiler just recently ;)...u realise that you have so much in common with people around you..all u gotta do is confess ;D...tofu ooks awesome nupur..

  6. Nupur, This sounds absolutely delicious and I cannot wait to try it. I have been reading your blog for some time now and I love the fact that most of your recipes are vegan-friendly. Keep up the good work!

  7. That's being added on my -to try list :-)

  8. I eat tofu very regularly. I can take all the marinade recipes you can give me :)

  9. nupur lovely pics and fried rice look soo yummy

  10. I've had various versions of miso-marinated cod in restaurants, but I've never used miso as a marinade at home. The addition of tahini sounds perfect!

  11. nupur, i discovered the broiler in my kitchen after reading your post! ;) unbelievable :)))

  12. lovely. i have never tried fried rice with brown rice before!

  13. Your version looks great, Nupur! I can't wait to try it. Although I am now in India, basking in the warm weather - wheeee! - and will wait till I return to try it. Not sure if I can get miso & tahini here in Madras, and anyway, I'm being spoiled rotten with all manner of yummy home foods!

  14. Looks lovely nupur:)Tofu is the thing i hav not tried b4...But I love this dish as brinjal is my favourite!

  15. Kalyn, it is totally delicious and worth a try! Very low-carb too :)

    Lakshmi, I so agree: fried/baked/broiled eggplant is the most delicious thing ever! Now I will start broiling eggplant with all kinds of different marinades.

    Diane, yes, my oven/broiler is also an ancient contraption! This time, I had no problem getting the eggplant cooked right in the broiler but I will keep your tip in mind. Thanks!

    Rajitha, I know, one confessions leads to another... :D

    Vaishali, thank you for the kind words! I think about half the recipes here are vegan, and some others are very easily veganized. I'll try and include more!

    Sunita, hope you enjoy it :)

    Suganya, I am practically addicted to tofu but try to eat it no more than once a week, in the interest of eating a variety of foods. You will love this one, I think.

    Sagari, glad you like it!

    Lydia, miso makes for a wonderful marinade. And the tahini gives such a richness to the marinade- the mixture tastes more like cheese than anything else, now that I think about it.

    Shamly, I was hoping my confession would lead to at least one broiler discovery :D and I am glad it did!

    Nags, brown rice makes for really tasty and wholesome fried rice. If I remember correctly, "jugalbandi" and "a mad tea party" have nice recipes for brown rice fried rice.

    Kamini, you lucky thing, you, eating ghar-ka-khaana :D I think miso can wait till you return. For now, please eat some extra home food in my name.

    Rak's Kitchen, have never tasted tofu? I am betting that you get really great tofu in Singapore. It is so delicious, and goes great with the eggplant.


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