Japanese tofu, aubergine and lotus root stew

Japanese tofu, aubergine and lotus root stew

The Hairy Bikers got their inspiration for this dish from the Buddhist vegetarian cookery of Japan. It’s a celebration of Kyoto’s tofu culture. The Japanese aubergines used in the dish are longer and thinner than the ones we usually use.


  • 1 fresh lotus root (medium size, about 400g/14oz)
  • 500ml/18fl oz vegetable oil, plus a little extra for cooking
  • flaked sea salt
  • shichimi togarashi (Japanese seven-spice seasoning)
  • 4 tbsp rice flour (or cornflour if none available)
  • 2 pieces firm tofu, about 375g/13oz, cut into 2.5cm/1in squares
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 medium leeks, trimmed, washed and sliced into 1cm/½in diagonal slices
  • 2 Japanese aubergine, cut into 2cm/¾in discs (alternatively you can use a normal aubergine cut into 2cm/¾in discs)
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 2 tbsp finely grated ginger
  • 150g/5½oz brown shimeji mushrooms, trimmed
  • 2 tbsp heaped miso paste
  • 4 tbsp mirin
  • 5 tbsp soy sauce