Lili Boulanger, a prodigious musician and composer, demonstrates her talent in this evocative symphonic poem. The piece, albeit short, whisks you away on a journey through an unfamiliar land. Similarly, we chose to highlight a vegetable that seldom takes the center stage. Using Japanese flavors and techniques, the eggplant is transformed into a sweet and savory treat fit to accompany this exciting and intriguing piece.

Total Time:
1 hr

UNA's Miso Glazed Eggplant with Sushi Rice


Sushi Rice: 

-1 cup short grain white rice (I like the brand Nishiki because it is affordable and delicious but anything you can find will work) 

-2 Tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar 

-1.5 tsp sugar

-1 tsp salt 

Miso Glazed Eggplant:

-4 japanese eggplants (or any type you can find), tops and tails trimmed, sliced lengthwise and cut in half if they are particularly long

-¼ cup white miso 

-2 Tbsp mirin

-1 Tbsp soy sauce (or tamari for GF)  

-1 tsp sesame oil 

-1 Tbsp sugar

-4 green onions, thinly sliced

-Vegetable oil 

-Toasted sesame seeds


First things first, preheat your oven’s broiler to high heat and prep all of your ingredients so that you are ready to begin cooking. 

Begin by thoroughly washing your rice using a fine mesh strainer. Once the water is running mostly clear, add the washed rice to a small saucepan along with 1 ¼ cups of water and cover with a tight fitting lid. Bring to a boil over medium high heat (since the lid is on, keep an eye out for when steam starts to escape to know when the water is boiling) and then reduce the heat to the lowest setting and cook the rice for 15 minutes. After the 15 minutes is up, without peeking, turn off the heat and leave the rice to steam for an additional 10 minutes keeping the lid on. While this steaming process is happening mix together your rice vinegar, sugar and salt. Once the rice is steamed, you may now remove the lid and gently but thoroughly mix in the vinegar solution to season the rice. As the rice cools, it should become glossy and sticky. Keep the rice covered with a clean kitchen towel to keep warm until you are ready to serve. 

During the rice cooking process, find some time to whisk together the white miso, mirin, soy sauce, sesame oil, and sugar in a medium bowl. If you like a little heat, feel free to add some asian style hot sauce or red chili flakes into this mixture as well. 

Score the flesh side of the eggplant pieces in a cross hatch pattern. While not entirely necessary, if you want to impress your friends, salt your sliced eggplant pieces and let them sit for about 10 minutes before you begin. They will sweat out some of their water and in turn become less bitter and a slightly more pleasant texture. Coat them completely in vegetable oil and place, cut side down, onto a rimmed baking sheet. Adjust the oven rack so that it is 4-6 inches from the heating element, and broil the eggplant for about 5 minutes or until slightly softened. Flip the pieces over and continue to cook for a further 3-5 minutes until almost completely tender. Remove from the heat and use a pastry brush or the back of a small spoon to cover the cut side of the eggplant pieces thoroughly with the miso glaze. Return to the broiler and cook for a final few minutes (3-5) until the glaze begins to caramelize and the eggplant is melt in your mouth tender. 

All that is left to do is plate! I like to use a small bowl as a mold to fill with sticky rice and place onto the center of a large dinner plate. Then, carefully arrange your miso glazed eggplant pieces over the sticky rice, and garnish with thinly sliced green onions and toasted sesame seeds. Enjoy!

Pairing Notes

The crux of this pairing is the concept of taking a mysterious and unfamiliar ingredient and painting it in an intriguing light. Lili Boulanger’s “D’un matin de printemps” is a thrilling symphonic poem that demonstrates the young composer’s ability to storytell through her obvious compositional prowess. The piece balances moments of joy with an ever present darkness as it guides you through Boulanger’s idea of a morning in spring. This balance and complexity of musical ideas is reflected in our treatment of a japanese eggplant. The rich and savory elements of a well cooked eggplant welcome the sweetness and earthiness brought by white miso and mirin, to transform what can be an uninteresting vegetable into a delectable treat. 

A feeling of uncertainty leading to beauty is introduced from the start as Boulanger begins the piece with three minor seconds, blurring our notion of tonality. This technique, pioneered by Debussy, immediately transports you to a foreign land and sets you up for a foray into french impressionism. Through her use of shimmering wind lines, rustling passages in the strings, and the occasional glimmer of triangle and celesta, she is able to create an intriguing landscape which you as the listener are encouraged to explore. Around every corner lies a new mystery and as the music unfolds this hushed landscape transforms into unrefined beauty before your very eyes. While you explore, dig into the flavors and textures of this miso glazed japanese eggplant to discover how they are intertwined with one of the final compositions of this young and prodigious composer.

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