Doenjang-glazed grilled Asian aubergine (doenjang gaji gui)

This aubergine recipe is a variation of the Japanese version, nasu dengaku, which is an all-time fave for me. Here I use doenjang, which kicks the flavour up a notch. It is divine!

Ingredients

Serves 6 portions

  • 3 asian aubergines (about 140 g/5 oz each), halved lengthways
  • vegetable oil, for grilling
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 120ml (4 fl oz) doenjang glaze
  • roasted sesame seeds, to serve
  • pinch of gochugaru (Korean chilli flakes), to serve (optional)
  • handful of spring onions, thinly sliced on an angle, to serve

Doenjang glaze

  • 125 g(4½ oz) doenjang (Korean soya bean paste)
  • 50 g(1¾ oz) honey
  • 5 garlic cloves, grated or finely chopped
  • 3 spring onions, thinly sliced on an angle
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil

Method

  1. To make the doenjang glaze, in a small bowl, whisk together all the ingredients until smooth. Cover and store in the fridge if not using immediately.
  2. Preheat the grill and position a rack 10–13 cm (4–5 in) from the heat source. Line a baking tray with foil.
  3. Score the flesh of each aubergine half in a crisscross pattern, cutting deeply but not all the way through to the skin. Brush the aubergine halves with oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange them, skin-side up, in a single layer on the prepared baking tray.
  4. Grill for 3–5 minutes until the skins start to discolor in spots and the aubergines soften a bit. Flip them and continue to grill for a further 3–5 minutes until the cut sides are lightly golden and the aubergines are soft when squeezed. Spread the glaze over the flesh and grill for about 5 minutes until it’s bubbling and lightly charred in spots. Watch carefully, as the glaze can burn quickly.
  5. Transfer the aubergines to plates, flesh-side up, and garnish with sesame seeds, chilli flakes, if liked, and the spring onions.

Notes

  • While the aubergine halves look nicer served as is, cutting them into smaller pieces makes them easier to eat.
  • The glaze is a savoury, salty and slightly sweet mixture. It makes about 300 ml (10 fl oz).

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