This is such a beautiful, simple Japanese recipe, inspired by one of my favorite cookbooks, Kansha. Cooking Japanese white rice with, not instead, but with brown rice and black rice, results in a delicious, nutritionally enhanced dish, full of texture. Especially when tossed with green soybeans and topped with toasted sesame. It might seem so simple, that it borderlines boring. But do not be fooled. The simplicity of these flavors will knock your socks off, especially when served as a side to nasu dengaku, miso roasted eggplant, which is in essence food for the gods.
Black rice with green soybeans and miso eggplant
Ingredients for the rice
- 1/2 cup Japanese white rice
- 1/2 cup brown rice
- 1/2 cup black rice
- 1.5 cups water
- 1/2 cup frozen edamame in the pod
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 TBSP toasted white sesame seeds + 1 TBSP toasted black sesame seeds (or more white sesame)
Ingredients for miso roasted eggplant
- 7-8 Japanese eggplants (or 2-3 regular, larger eggplants)
- 4-5 TBSP coconut oil
- 1/2 cup red miso
- 1 heaped TBSP Korean hot chili paste
- 2 TBSP sake
- 2 TBSP mirin
- 7 TBSP dashi stock made from kombu and shiitake (you can substitute with water or vegetable stock)
- Topping: toasted sesame seeds, finely sliced fresh spring onions
- Preheat oven to 200C.
- Wash the white and brown rice thoroughly and drain.
- Briefly rinse and drain the black rice.
- Mix all the three different types of rice to combine evenly. Cook them on the stove top or in the rice cooker, with the water.
- While the rice is cooking, wash and dry the eggplants.
- Cut your Japanese eggplants in half and cross-score the fleshy surface. If you are using the regular large eggplants, cut them crosswise into thick slices, about 2cm wide.
- Brush the eggplants with coconut oil on all sides to help keep them moist during roasting.
- Add the eggplant to the oven, skin side down. Roast the eggplant until it becomes tender. It takes more or less 20 minutes, depending on what eggplant you use, size and your oven setting.
- While the eggplant is roasting, add miso, chili paste, sake, mirin and dashi to a bowl and mix until it becomes a paste.
- When the eggplant is almost done, apply the glaze on each slice and continue to roast for another 3-4 minutes.
- While both rice and eggplant are cooking, bring a pot of water to a boil and add the frozen edamame pods. This is best done between steps 8 and 9 above. When the water begins to boil again, scoop out the edamame with a slotted spoon. Let them chill a bit, and when they’re warm enough to handle, remove the beans from the pods.
- To assemble the dish, when the rice is cooked, add the edamame and toss to mix.
- Add the edamame rice to the bottom of the serving bowls, miso eggplant on top, generous sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds and a bit of fresh spring onion. Serve hot!