Some evenings all you want is a light dinner. This fragrant broth with silky shiitake mushrooms, miso and noodles made from eggplant is a bowlful of goodness.
3 tablespoons very finely julienned fresh ginger
100 grams shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, very finely sliced
4 spring onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal, green tops reserved
5 cups water
1 large oval purple eggplant
4 tablespoons white miso (shiro) or more to taste (I used Urban Hippie – see Cook’s tip)
500 grams firm white fish fillets
sea salt and ground pepper
handful fresh enoki mushrooms, optional
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan and gently cook the ginger, mushrooms, garlic and spring onions for 5 minutes. Add the water and bring to the boil.
Cut the eggplant lengthways into 1cm thick slices then cut into ½cm wide, long noodles. Add to the saucepan and simmer for 5 minutes or until tender but not falling apart.
Put the miso in a bowl and stir in ⅓ cup of the hot broth to make a smooth paste. Add to the saucepan and bring to the boil. Taste and add more miso if desired. Turn off the heat and cover to keep warm.
Heat a little oil in a large sauté pan. Season the fish on both sides and cook until just cooked through.
To serve: Ladle the soup and noodles between bowls and top with the fish, a small bundle of enoki if using and the sliced reserved spring onion tops. Serve with the lime wedges.
Cook’s tips: Brands of miso paste can vary enormously with their salt content. Stir in extra small spoonfuls if needed until you get the desired flavour.
Use whatever fish is freshest and best on the day.