Nasu Dengaku/Miso Glazed Eggplant Recipe

I used to hate eggplant. As a child, the slimy texture made me want to squeal, and not with joy. I just couldn’t wrap my head around why people would eat eggplant and like it. Something must have happened from then to now, because now I’d say I’m a eggplant lover. I guess it could have been that I had badly cooked eggplant as a child, but more likely, I just grew out of my weird childhood finickiness.

When cooked right, eggplant has a melty dreamy texture that I just can’t get enough of. Add to that a sweet miso caramelized top and you have the perfect food for scooping up and eating with plain white rice.

I first discovered nasu dengaku or miso glazed eggplant at a friendly neighbourhood sushi joint. Everyone told me I had to get the eggplant: two unassuming halves of an Japanese eggplant nestled in tinfoil. Upon closer inspection, the eggplant was scored and covered in a sticky sauce that had been broiled to the point of caramelization. The presentation was underwhelming, but the taste was definitely mind blowing.

If you can imagine a vegetable based, salty-sweet creme brulee, this is it. The salty-sweet sticky topping isn’t as crackly as a cream brulee, but underneath the miso-glaze, the eggplant is creamy and delicious.

Nasu Dengaku/Miso Glazed Eggplant Recipe adapted from fatfreevegan.com

1 tablespoons mirin
1 tablespoons sake
2 tablespoons shiro miso
3 tablespoons sugar
2 Japanese eggplants, cut in half lengthwise*
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
sliced green onions, for garnish

Place the mirin and sake in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer for about 2 minutes to allow some of the alcohol to cook off. Then add the miso and stir until smooth. Stir in the sugar, reduce the heat to very low, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, while you broil the eggplants:

Brush the cut sides of the eggplants with the sesame oil. Put the eggplants cut-side down on a baking sheet and place under the broiler of your oven for about 3 minutes, checking often to make sure that they do not burn. Turn them over, and cook for another 3 minutes or until the tops are a light to medium brown. Do not burn! (If your eggplant still isn’t tender all the way through, turn the broil function to bake at 375˚ for a few more minutes; then proceed with the recipe.)

When the eggplants are tender, top each one with the miso sauce and put them back under the broiler until the sauce bubbles up–this should take less than a minute, so watch them closely. Enjoy hot, sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds and green onions.

* I used a regular eggplant, but the thinness of Japanese eggplants work better with this dish because they roast faster. Also, if you score the eggplants, they’ll cook faster and the sauce will flavour even more of the eggplant.

32 Comments add yours

  1. I know that one word comments add little to a conversation, but still: WANT. I’ve never seen this dish look this pretty!

  2. Beautiful, and I LOVE the piggy cutting board!

  3. I like it. I normally have eggplant with pork and some bean sauce, but a meat free alternative is nice.

  4. you have one of my favorite blogs! i love the pictures, the recipes, and everything. it’s all so beautiful! keep it up =)

  5. That looks delicious. Have you ever tried escalavada? I first tried it when I was studying abroad in Spain. It’s a variety of summer vegetables (and eggplant), grilled until soft and melting, drizzled with olive oil, and topped with chopped garlic. My host mother would add chopped black olives on top, too.

    I loved it. I need to make it one of these days . . .

    I have never tried escalavada, but it sounds wonderful!

    steph on July 2nd, 2010 at 9:36 am
  6. I love this too! I usually order it at a Jap restuarant near work. Will give this a go.

    You really shouldn’t use the term “Jap”. It’s a racial slur from the World War II. Please just use the full word.

    Momoko on September 4th, 2012 at 5:08 pm
  7. just cokked it the other day, and came across this blog accidentally. it’s a great dish, but way to much of that sauce-stuff

  8. Schönes Rezept, danke!

  9. Does anyone know a good substitute for the sake? I want to cook it, but I’m not 21 and can’t buy the sake.

    you can buy cooking sake..dont think you need to be 21…

    ^ That’s so cuuuute :)

    Uri on October 18th, 2013 at 8:21 pm
    japanese food lover on August 15th, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    lol. i used rice wine vinegar instead. turned out quite good

    Angeline on November 4th, 2011 at 8:26 pm
  10. Thank you for posting this recipe!! I had this at a restaurant several times and have been jonesing for it at home. Thank you ! Thank you!!

  11. this looks just awesome! I’m making this tomorrow.

  12. i just made it today and it was good! =) i love the caramelized miso topping and the softness of the eggplants. i didnt get the chance to buy sake so i substituted it with rice wine vinegar instead. (will try with sake next time) and i used a normal (non-jap) eggplant, cut it into 3 portions lengthwise, and broiled it longer than advised.
    thanks for the recipe!

    Please cut out the JAP from your vocabulary. HOW LAZY or INSENSITIVE can you be to NOT add JUST 2 letters, A & N? Even if they are not grammatically correct at all times, e.g. NON-JAPAN vs. NON- JAPANESE eggplant, still, you would avoid giving gratuitous offense. PLEASE!! People get deeply wounded. Have you ever read of the internment camps in the USA, and the forcible takeover of Japanese citizens’ property, for which no compensation was ever paid? There is such a thing as the US Constitution, you know! Your ancestors, too, did not happen to spring up out of the ground here by magic.

    Wow, over-reaction much, hahaha. I am japanese and I wasn’t offended by it because I saw it as being shorthand rather than racism. You know what is a really japanese trait? Being silent when someone has committed a faux pas….

    Josh on August 26th, 2013 at 12:43 am
    gtm2012 on November 3rd, 2012 at 7:12 pm
  13. Made this today but as I’m sugar-free I used equal instead! tasted the same but didn’t caramelise very much at all!

    You can use tagatose, which is a natural sugar that is left-handed, and cannot be used by our bodies. It will caramelize like sucrose, and at that point, loses its disadvantage of being a food for intestinal bacterial, and lending itself to gas and diarrhea [for some people, and in significant quantities].

    Tagatose is sold under various proprietary labels.

    gtm2012 on November 3rd, 2012 at 7:18 pm
  14. Hi. I tried it. 3 tbsp sugar is too sweet for me (or I was using wrong type of miso, too? I used whatever I have in the fridge i.e., red miso, instead of white/shiro miso). Will try again with the right miso but maybe use 1 tbsp of sugar, too :)

    I luv this dish already, even it’s too sweet when I made it for the first time :)

  15. CRAZY delicious! made it! Loved it, and loved your intro & recipe even more. Thank you :)

    thea.
    (spoonfulzine)

  16. Trying it out now. Thanks for not passing over the Japanese slurs – food blogs don’t always want to break the mood but it’s important -

  17. I have had something similar but the halves where stuffed with either minced pork or chicken. Does anyone have a receipe.
    Meantime I will try this one

  18. really nice! But I note in the picture u havent cut across the aubergine. I ate this in Japan all the time- wish I’d learnt to make it at home its so easy to make!

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