Ume miso-sauteed summer vegetables (Natsu yasai no ume miso itame)

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine and taken from Japan: The Vegetarian Cookbook written by Nancy Singleton Hachisu.

Pure, seasonal ingredients and mindful preparation form the basis of this elegant and flavorsome dish. Suggested by Nancy Singleton Hachisu, ‘choose a full-flavoured miso of your choice (not white miso). Miso is a natural match for aubergine and peppers, and these miso stir-fries – colloquially ‘abura miso’ – are served often in the Japanese countryside during the summer.’

Serves: 4

3 small aubergines
½ medium courgette
1 large red bell pepper
10 slender green beans
1½ tbsp lightly roasted gold sesame oil
½ tbsp fine slivers fresh ginger
5 tbsp sake
4 tbsp miso
1 tbsp gold sesame seeds, warmed in a dry frying pan until fragrant


  1. Slice off the ends of the aubergines and courgette and discard. Halve them lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1cm pieces. Soak the aubergine in cold water to keep it from discolouring. Core and seed the pepper and cut into 2cm irregular pieces.
  2. Bring a medium saucepan three-quarters full of water and 1 tsp salt to a boil over high heat. Add the green beans and cook until their green colour just brightens, 1-3 minutes, depending on thickness. Trim off the stem ends and cut the beans crosswise into 2cm pieces. Set aside.
  3. Drain the aubergine and blot dry. In a large frying pan, warm 1 tbsp of the oil over low heat. Add the ginger, stir once to coat with oil, then add the aubergine, courgette, and bell pepper. Increase the heat to high, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned in spots, 2-3 minutes.
  4. Stir in the remaining ½ tbsp oil and the sake and toss well. Add the miso and stir-fry to coat evenly. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the vegetables are fully softened, 2-3 minutes longer. Fold in the green beans and sesame seeds and serve hot or at room temperature. Keeps well for 2 or 3 days, if refrigerated.

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