- 200mls mirin [sweetened rice wine]
- 50mls light soy sauce
- 1 knob of fresh ginger, finely grated
- 4 spring onions, trimmed and finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 red chillies, de-seeded and finely chopped
- 4 long purple Asian aubergines
- Peanut oil - or other neutral-flavoured oil
- To prepare the aubergines, cut them in half lengthways and lightly score their inside surfaces with a sharp knife in a criss-cross fashion - don't go too deep.
- Pour the mirin into a saucepan; bring up to the boil, then simmer until reduced to about half its original volume. Decant into a bowl and allow to cool completely.
- Add the remaining 6 ingredients and stir together (Soy sauce, ginger, spring onions, garlic, sesame oil, red chillies)
- Pre-heat the oven to 220C/gas mark 7.
- Heat a couple of tablespoons of the neutral oil in a large frying pan until hot, but not smoking. Lower in the aubergines cut side down and fry until the flesh is golden [you will have to do this in batches, together with more oil]; about 3 minutes.
- Now turn them over and cook for about half the time on their skins.
- Remove from the frying pan and place onto a shallow baking tray, cut side uppermost.
- Now, carefully spoon over about half the dressing, dividing it as you go between each aubergine. Press into the gaps with the spoon as you go.
- Place in the oven [top shelf] for 4 minutes.
- Once you see them bubbling, remove from the oven and add more dressing.
- Continue to bake the aubergines until very tender and almost drenched in the aromatic dressing; residue will also have collected in the dish, which will have further become deliciously brown and sticky.
- Flash under a hot grill to add extra gilding, if you so wish.