by Peter Moore
Admittedly, chocolate and eggplant isn’t a combination that jumps to mind when you are contemplating dinner. I got the idea for it when I was thinking about recipes for our chocolate issue a couple of weeks ago. I was browsing for ideas and came across a recipe for red miso and chocolate brownies. I ended up going with the chocolate and fennel pollen brownies instead, but the more I thought about the combination, the more I thought it might work as a savory dish. I’ve used miso paste on roasted eggplant and chicken before. What about adding some chocolate? Hmm….
What I ended up with is sort of a Mexican mole, sort of Thai curry, and sort of something in between, which is where my cooking lives.
Eggplants are just coming into season now. Here is a selection from Full Belly Farm. For this recipe I’ve used the longer thinner eggplants—Chinese, Italian, Japanese, or Filipino and cut them in half lengthwise. If you’re using globe eggplants, half them and then cut the halves into wedges.
It has been pointed out to me that I haven’t been including the number of people that a recipe serves. This recipe serves two but you can multiply ingredients to feed the number of guests you’re cooking for.
Chocolate Miso Eggplant and Chicken
1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into tenders
4 long thin eggplants cut in half lengthwise
For the paste:
4 tbs oil (I used olive oil but any other neutral oil will work)
1 tbs Tcho cocoa powder
1 tbs white miso
1 tbs red miso
1 tbs coconut sugar (substitute brown sugar)
1 tbs Red Boat fish sauce
1 tbs tomato paste
Juice of one lime
1 tsp white sesame seeds
1 tsp Aleppo chile pepper (see notes on ingredients below)
½ tsp cumin
¼ tsp cardamom
Green onions for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400°.
Mix together all the paste ingredients and whisk until smoothish. Toss the chicken strips and eggplant halves with the paste until well coated. Put the chicken and eggplant on a sheet pan covered with parchement paper and put in oven. Cook for 25 minutes checking after 20 minutes of so to make sure it’s not too done. Chop the green onions and toss on top to serve.
Notes on ingredients:
I tend to not make my food super spicy, but if you like it hot you can certainly ramp this up with a hotter chile pepper or with some sriracha or other hot sauce. As usual I used Oaktown Spice Shop spices. I can’t say enough good things about their selection and friendliness. But if you’re not in the Bay Area, Penzeys is good.
This recipe is vegan/vegetarian except for the chicken and if you’re so inclined, substitute more eggplant.
Peter Moore lives, shops, and cooks in Berkeley, California. A co-founder of San Francisco’s Roxie Cinema, he worked in the film world for many years until the lure of food drew him into the world of professional cooking. Shortly thereafter, the lure of day shifts and a medical plan drew him out of restaurants, but his love of cooking remained. He is currently an intern at The Crucible in Oakland and an Operations and Development Associate for the SF Silent Film Festival.