Miso eggplant is a Vegan Japanese side dish.* It is super easy to make and delicious. The best part of miso eggplant is that it has a delicious sweet miso paste glaze and the eggplant melts in your mouth.
What is Nasu Dengaku?
Nasu is eggplant in Japanese. Sweet miso paste can glaze dishes with ingredients such as tofu or konnyaku. These dishes are called Dengaku. So Nasu dengaku literally means, miso glazed eggplant.
The size of eggplants
The size of eggplants in Australia are surprisingly huge compared to those in Japan. You can get bigger eggplants in Japan, called “Kome Nasu”. Generally speaking though, eggplants in Japan are fairly small. But eggplants in Australia are huge!!
How to prepare eggplants
Because of the size and also the astringent taste that eggplants can have, we need to do a little bit of preparation. A popular and photogenic way is to cut them in half, lengthwise. Then score around the edge and diagonally so that it cooks evenly and quickly in the microwave. Soaking the eggplant in water removes astringent taste.
How to make miso glaze?
Super easy! While the eggplant is soaking in water, just combine all ingredients and place over medium heat and cook until the miso paste becomes shiny. It does not take a long time either, so cook only for a few minutes.
Which type of Miso to use for the glaze?
Miso is commonly classified by its colour, Shiro(white), Aka(red) and Mixed. White miso is sweeter in taste but we add sugar to the glaze anyway so any type of miso is good to use. I make my own miso and if you would like to know more about miso, read my previous post about how to make miso paste.
Garnishes for Miso Eggplant
Grated ginger and chopped shiso leaves complement the sweet miso flavour. And sesame seeds add a nutty flavour to miso paste. Shiso may not be a familiar herb or garnish but it is my favourite and a common herb in Japan. Garnishing Sashimi and Sushi with Shiso is quite normal.
Miso Glaze for everything
Use about 1 tbs of sweet miso paste for a half of a large eggplant. You should have some left over miso glaze. Don’t throw it away though, because it can be used for glazing other ingredients such as salmon, tofu, konnyaku and is even daikon in Oden, the Japanese one pot dish.
Here is my updated Miso eggplant recipe. I am 100% sure you will love this and it could even become your staple weekday dinner menu.
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* This recipe can be vegan if you use 1 tbs of shiitake mushroom dashi stock. See how to make Dashi stock post. Or omit using dashi powder.
- 1.5 tbs miso paste
- 1.5 tbs sugar
- 1/2 tbs Mirin
- 1/2 tbs Sake
- 1/2 tsp dashi powder *4
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1 Eggplant
- 1 tbsp grated ginger to garnish
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds to garnish
- 1 tbsp chopped Shiso leaves to garnish
Sweet miso paste for glazing *1
- Put all the miso glaze ingredients in a small sauce pan and simmer for a couple minutes over low heat until the sugar has dissolved and the glaze become shiney.
- Remove from heat and set aside.
- Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise.
- Score around the eggplant and diagonally.
- Soak the eggplant in water in a large bowl for about 5 minutes to take off the bitter taste.
- Take the eggplant out of the water and wipe off the excess water with a paper towel.
- Gently wrap the eggplant with cling wrap microwave for 5 min.
Grill and glaze
- Start to preheat the oven on grill setting *2
- Put the olive oil in a frying pan and cook the eggplant until the cut side becomes brown about 5 minutes and turn the heat off. *3
- Glaze the eggplant surface with about 1 tbs of miso mixture each.
- Put the frying pan in the preheated oven and grill for 3-5 minutes.
- Serve it on a plate and top with grated ginger, garnish with shiso and sprinkle sesame seeds over.