Sweet miso aubergine (pictured above)
Prep 15 min
Cook 10 min
400g small-medium aubergines, stem ends trimmed
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp brown rice miso
½ tbsp mirin
½ tbsp sake
Shave off the sides of the aubergines to make them straight-sided, then cut lengthways into 12mm-thick slabs.
Heat a cast-iron pan over a medium-low heat. Brush the aubergine slices with the sesame oil, add to the pan, and cook, covered, for two minutes on each side, until softened.
Heat the grill and position a rack 10cm beneath the heat source.
In a small saucepan, whisk together the miso, mirin and sake, and warm briefly over a low heat. Scrape into a small bowl and cool for five minutes. Transfer the aubergine pieces to a rack set over a rimmed baking sheet and spread with the miso mixture, then grill until bubbling and slightly glossy – about three minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.
From Japan: The Cookbook by Nancy Singleton Hachisu (Phaidon)
Aubergine and pomegranate salad
Prep 15 min
Cook 20 min
3 medium aubergines
1 tbsp tahini
200g ripe cherry tomatoes, halved
2 spring onions, trimmed and thinly sliced
Seeds of ½ medium pomegranate
1 small bunch mint, roughly chopped
For the dressing
Juice of ½ pomegranate
½ garlic clove, crushed into a paste with 1 pinch salt
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and black pepper
Whisk all the dressing ingredients together, season and set aside.
Grill the aubergines whole – either over a hot barbecue, directly on the naked flame of a gas hob or under the grill – until the skin is charred and crisp all over and the flesh is very soft.
Take off the heat and, when cool enough to handle, discard the tops and peel off the skin, scraping the flesh from the back of the skin if necessary. Chop the flesh roughly with a knife, then put it in a large bowl and mix by hand until almost smooth. Add the tahini and dressing and taste for seasoning.
Add the tomatoes, spring onions, pomegranate seeds and mint, and stir well. Check for seasoning once more and serve.
From Moro East by Sam and Sam Clark (Ebury)
Fried semolina-crusted aubergines with honey
Prep 5 min
Cook 20 min
3 large aubergines
Vegetable oil, for frying
6 tbsp semolina
Sea salt flakes, crushed
75ml clear honey
Pul biber (Turkish chilli flakes), to serve (optional)
Peel the aubergines and cut them into 3.5cm-thick discs. Cut each slice into pieces about 5cm or so in length. Shape variation doesn’t matter and neither does size inconsistency – just make the pieces roughly around the same size, so they cook at the same pace.
Pour about 5cm vegetable oil into a large, deep frying pan or wok (or a saucepan, if, like me, you prefer to contain oil splatter) and heat the oil on high until hot.
Pour the milk into a small bowl. Tip the semolina on to a small plate and season well with crushed salt. Dip the aubergine pieces into the milk, then shake off any excess and roll the pieces in the seasoned semolina.
Cooking in batches, put the coated aubergine pieces into the hot oil and fry for about a minute, then turn and fry until all the sides are nice and brown and the flesh is cooked through.
Drain on a tray or plate lined with kitchen paper to soak up excess oil. Repeat with subsequent batches. Serve with a good drizzle of clear honey and a sprinkling of pul biber chilli flakes, if you like.
From Sirocco by Sabrina Ghayour (Mitchell Beazley)
Prep 2 hr
Cook 1 hr 20 min
2 aubergines, sliced lengthways
Salt and black pepper
2 red peppers
500g cannelloni (ie 12 tubes)
120g butter, cubed, plus extra for greasing
250g mozzarella, drained and sliced into strips
1 handful basil leaves
50g parmesan or pecorino, grated
200ml tomato puree
1 tbsp butter
Heat the oven to 200C/390F/gas 6. Arrange the aubergine slices in a bowl and sprinkle with salt. Press down with a weight and leave to sit for an hour.
Roast the peppers for 30 minutes, turning halfway through. When done, remove the peppers from the oven, and turn the temperature to 180C/350F/gas 4. When the peppers are cool enough to handle, peel and deseed them. Cut into strips and drain on kitchen paper.
Cook the cannelloni in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Plunge in cold water, drain and leave to rest for 15 minutes.
Rinse and dry the aubergine thoroughly. Oil a baking tray, arrange the aubergine inside, drizzle with more oil then bake until browned on both sides. Take out of the oven, but leave the oven on.
Butter a baking dish that will hold the 12 cannelloni snugly. Divide the aubergine, pepper, mozzarella and basil among the 12 pasta tubes, sprinkle with the parmesan, season, then arrange in the baking dish. Cover the cannelloni with the tomato puree, dot with the butter, then bake for 20 minutes. Take out of the oven and rest for five to 10 minutes before serving.
From Naples and the Amalfi Coast by The Silver Spoon (Phaidon)
Baby aubergines with coconut and curry leaf
Prep 20 min
Soak 30 min
Cook 50 min
8 baby aubergines
Sea salt, to taste
1 sprinkle onion slices, fried, to garnish
A few curry leaves, fried, to garnish
For the masala
2 tbsp vegetable oil
50g desiccated coconut
25g unsalted peanuts
20g white sesame seeds
2 tsp coriander seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 green chilli
A small handful coriander
1 tsp black mustard seeds
80g packet curry leaves
2 brown onions, finely chopped
1 tbsp minced ginger
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tbsp Kashmiri red chilli powder
500ml coconut milk
Sea salt, to taste
100ml date and tamarind chutney (or other chutney)
Slice a deep cross in the round end of each aubergine. Soak in heavily salted water for 30 minutes, then drain and pat dry. Fry in a tablespoon of the oil for about five minutes, then drain and set aside.
Dry-toast the coconut, peanuts, sesame, coriander and cumin seeds for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Cool, then blitz to a paste in a food processor with the chilli, fresh coriander and a little water.
Over a medium heat, fry the mustard seeds and curry leaves in the remaining oil for 30 seconds. Add the onions and cook for 10 minutes.
Add the paste to the onions. and cook for a further five minutes, then add the ginger, garlic, turmeric and chilli powder, followed by the coconut milk.
Bring to the boil, turn down to a simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes until soft. Season to taste with salt and the chutney.
Add the aubergines to the sauce and cook for 10 minutes. Garnish with fried onions and curry leaves to serve.
From Kricket: An Indian-inspired Cookbook by Will Bowlby (Hardie Grant)
Aubergine in sweet and sour sauce
Prep 10 min
Cook 10 min
2 small to medium aubergines
250ml vegetable oil
3 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp red-wine vinegar
For the batter
6 tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp cornflour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vegetable oil
Rinse the aubergines and pat them dry with paper towels. Cut off the stems, then cut each aubergine lengthways into quarters.
To make the batter, combine all the ingredients, then add eight tablespoons of water and mix well.
Heat the oil in a wok or deep saucepan to 150C/300F, or until a cube of bread browns in 90 seconds. Dip the aubergines in the batter then carefully drop them in the hot oil. Deep-fry for two to three minutes until golden brown. Using a slotted spoon, carefully remove the aubergines from the oil and drain on kitchen paper.
Combine the sugar and vinegar in a small saucepan over a medium heat and stir for two to three minutes, until the sugar is dissolved. Pour the mixture over the aubergines to serve.
From China: The Cookbook, by Diora Fong Chan and Kei Lum Chan (Phaidon)
- Food styling: Sam Dixon. Prop styling: Anna Wilkins