Miso Matcha Eggplant Rice

Matcha and miso are a match made in Japanese heaven! This recipe brings together classic ingredients from there into a more modern dish. Also a great twist to use that ‘baigan’ that nobody seems to like. (Very unfair, if you ask us! Maybe we’ll discuss the versatility of the eggplant in an upcoming article..? Let us know your thoughts on this.)

Serves: 2 | Prep Time: 40 mins

Ingredients

  • 2 eggplants (aubergine/baingan)
  • 1 bunch cilantro (dhaniya)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 small piece ginger
  • ¾ cup rice
  • 2 tbsp. white miso paste
  • 2 tbsp. mirin (or any sweet cooking wine)
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp matcha powder
  • 1 tsp black sesame seeds

Preheat the oven to 260°C.

Heat a pot of salted water to boiling. Add the sushi rice to the boiling water and cook for 16 to 20 minutes, or until tender. Drain thoroughly and keep aside.

Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise, then crosswise into quarters. With the tip of a knife, score a diagonal crosshatch pattern into the cut sides of the eggplant. Place the eggplant on a lightly oiled baking sheet, patterned-side up.

Finely chop the cilantro. Peel and mince the ginger and garlic, smashing until they resemble paste. Whisk together the ginger, garlic, miso, mirin, and half the soy sauce.

Drizzle the eggplant with olive oil and spread the miso mixture on the top of the eggplant slices. Roast in the preheated oven 14 to 16 minutes, or until the eggplant is tender and the topping is lightly browned.

Add the cooked rice back to the pot. Add the rice vinegar, sugar, matcha powder, half the black sesame seeds, and all but a pinch of the cilantro; stir until well combined.

Divide the green tea rice and eggplant slices between 2 plates. Garnish with the remaining black sesame seeds, cilantro, and soy sauce. Enjoy!

Matcha-do About Something?

The world seems to be obsessed with matcha. Beautiful people are knocking back shots of it at fashion shows. Gwyneth and her tribe are toting jars of it to yoga classes. Cafes are serving it in lattes and chefs are turning it into everything from soup to brownies. Japan’s most revered form of green tea has now become a must-have ingredient for the ‘wellness’ set. But what’s the truth behind the health claims? Here’s what you need to know if you want to join the green party.

What is matcha?

Let’s begin with what it actually is: matcha is essentially a stone-ground, powdered green tea. It originates from Japan, where the green tea plants for matcha are shade-grown for about three weeks before harvest, after which and the stems and veins are removed, and the leaves are processed and ground.

The main difference between  conventional green tea and matcha is that in traditional green tea, you consume the  essence of the leaf that is infused in water with the leaves themselves being discarded, while with matcha you are drinking the actual finely powdered leaves.

What are the health benefits?

One of the main reasons matcha is so wildly popular is that it has numerous health benefits. As one serving of matcha has the nutritional equivalent of 10 cups of regular green tea, it is packed full of anti-oxidants (including the powerful EGCg). These help to boost your metabolism, burn fat, increase immunity, detoxify your body, fight cancer and even slow down aging (phew that’s a lot!).

Matcha also contains a rare amino acid called L-theanine, which is a saviour for those who need a caffeine hit without the coffee jitters. Each cup of pure brewed matcha contains about 70g of caffeine – quite a kick. However, the presence of theanine helps the body process this caffeine better, inducing a calm, alert state of mind as opposed to the high and subsequent crash of coffee. In fact, Japanese monks have used it for centuries for meditation.

Does matcha taste sweet or savoury?

In a nutshell – both.  Our favourite compound Theanine influences the taste of matcha as well. This amino acid beings in a flavour of ‘umami’ – the fifth taste identified after sweet, salty, sour and bitter. Many people describe umami in different ways, but it is essentially a rich moreish flavour that is difficult to pin down but is adds a delicious richness and dimension to food.

The presence of ‘umami’ gives matcha a mellow, sweet, natural flavour, with moreish undertones. This combination of sweet and savoury makes matcha an easy match to use in cooking.

 

The last important thing that we’d like to tell you about matcha, is that it comes in various grades and qualities. Not every powdered green tea can be called matcha, and it is important to look for good quality to reap the health benefits. Always look for ceremonial-grade (high-quality, fit to be used in formal tea ceremonies) matcha, and keep a look out for the iconic bright green colour of the powder. If it’s yellowish or browning, it may not be in it’s prime or may be adulterated.

Shop original matcha here on our site!