Japanese Baked Eggplant with Miso and Sesame | Nasu Dengaku

You won’t believe that this is eggplant!

Eggplant and Miso

There are a couple of Japanese dishes that I make over and over again. A couple of eggplant dishes, a tofu dish and a noodle dish. This eggplant dish is quite amazing and may change your mind about eggplant all together (in a good way).

If I had to pick a couple of favourite vegetables, it would be luscious juicy tomatoes, and any sort of eggplant. This recipe I concocted after eating something similar in Japanese restaurants.

If you are not familiar with using miso, read about the different types.

Are you after more Eggplant Recipes? Try Thai Steamed Eggplant, Saffron and Rose Scented Aubergine, Eggplant Steaks, and Eggplant, Sultanas and Pine Nuts with Yoghurt.

Also try Miso Soup with Wakame.

Have a look at all of our Japanese recipes. We love eggplant and have a wealth of recipes for you. You can browse them here. Or explore our Mid Spring dishes.

Criss Cross

You won’t believe that this is eggplant! It is SO delicious!

Ingredient Notes

Mirin is a Japanese sweet cooking wine. It is made from steamed mochigome rice, komekoji (rice yeast), and shochu (Japanese liquor), which are mixed and and fermented. Mirin is clear and light gold in color and is usually sold in a bottle. It adds a nice lustre to ingredients, as well as a wonderful aroma.

As it is an essential ingredient in Japanese cooking, it can be found in any Asian shop or sometimes in the gourmet section of supermarkets.

The use of mirin is said to have begun over 400 years ago. Although it was used for drinking in the beginning, it has been used for only cooking since it was made to be thicker and sweeter.

Toasted Sesame Oil
Toasted Sesame Oil is a wonderful secret ingredient to many Asian dishes including Chinese and Japanese. Use only the best quality, and organic if you can. Good quality, cold pressed Sesame Oil is made from high quality seeds that are carefully toasted and cold pressed to produce smooth, deeply flavoured and aromatic oil without the burnt seed flavour often found in lower quality oils.

The oil has a wonderful nutty flavour, but don’t use too much of it – it can be overpowering. A drizzle here, a drop there, is enough.

Baked Eggplant with Mirin and Miso Paste

Cuisine: Japanese
Prep time: 5 mins
Cooking time: 40 mins
Serves: 1/2 eggplant per person for an entree, 1 eggplant per person for a lunch or main course

0.5 – 1 eggplant per person
toasted sesame oil
light or white miso paste
sesame seeds – white or a combination of black and white

With a sharp knife, slice the eggplants in two lengthwise, then score deeply right around the edge of the flesh and cross-score the cut face to make a criss-cross pattern. Do not cut through the skin. This not only looks good but also makes the eggplant easier to eat.

Criss Crossed

Brush the cut surfaces lightly with sesame oil. Drizzle mirin over the surface, opening up the cuts a little, and allowing the mirin to sink into the cuts.

Take a little miso paste and, with a knife, smear it THINLY across the surface – it has to be very thin or the taste will overwhelm the dish. With your hands push a tiny amount into the cuts too. If your miso is too thick to spread thinly, mix with a little water or mirin just until it is more spreadable.

Sprinkle sesame seeds lightly on top. You can make a nice pattern with the black and white sesame seeds, but do scatter them, not layer them like the photo.

Bake in a medium (200°C) oven until quite soft, 30 – 40 minutes. It is really important that it is cooked until soft, otherwise it won’t be wonderful. You know how eggplant starts to collapse when it is cooked? Not quite there, but close.

Serve hot or at room temperature with pickled ginger and a green salad.

Eggplant and Miso

recipe notes
There is no need to use as many sesame seeds as we did for the photos. A lighter hand is better.

It is a perfect first course. Or a great lunch with a salad.

Or add some tofu in an Asian sauce and some green vegetables glazed with a little sesame oil and lightly sprinkled with sesame seeds for a more substantial meal.

Eat with chop sticks. The blocks of eggplant come away very easily from the skin.

14 thoughts on “Japanese Baked Eggplant with Miso and Sesame | Nasu Dengaku”

  1. Hi richa, the criss cross is so easy to do, and makes such a difference to eating the eggplant. Best wishes to you, also. May 2008 bring you everything that you need and some of the things that you want 🙂

    Hi bhags, hmm, you might have some trouble with the mirim, for example. Both black and white sesame seeds is not essential – it just looks nice. If you can get white only, that is Ok. perhaps don’t layer them as thickly as I did for the photo – thinly spread is Ok.

    A light sesame oil will do if you can’t get toasted. But mirim and miso are musts, I am afraid. Good luck with it!

  2. Hi VY, happy new year to you!

    I am back blogging from today. You know I have only liked Mirin and Wasabi in Japanese cooking so far!:D

    Looks good, may be time for me to tey more of this cuisine.

  3. Beautiful recipe. We have a vegan restaurant close to my place, I go there to eat Japanese food (vegan version) as its really safe:). This looks fabulous.

  4. THis one looks dressed enough to hit the red carpet! WHat a lovely eggplant dish – only I am yet to find Japanese ingredients in my local stores, probably the crawford market towards South bombay has it, but I am yet to browse there….i have not been able to try out Japanese food in the two new restaurants here, because of the same vegetarian constraints.
    Beautiful photos.

  5. Hi Suganya, yes, you can use white miso but it is much milder in taste, I think. Use more. Push it into the cuts of the eggplant. Also, don’t use as many sesame seeds as i did for the photos. Maybe about half, otherwise they might overwhelm the dish.

    Hi Nandita, thanks so much. Maybe some others know where to get Japanese ingredients in Mumbai? Anyone else know?

    How nice, sivapriya, to have a vegan restaurant close by. Not something that Australia does much of, I am afraid. I love going to the States and having the variety available.

    Hi Asha, welcome back. Happy New Year to you and Vegegirl. Looking forward to great food from you in 2008.

  6. Yum! I love eggplant and Asian dishes with eggplant are always amazing. I’ll have to wait until it’s available locally, but this summer I’ll totally make this dish. Thanks!

  7. Wow! Wow! Wow! That looks and sounds super-fantastic. A must try. Oh, and happy belated New Year to you!

  8. I just wanted to come over and compliment on the recipe once again. It’s great, and I love it, and I will be making this regularly from hereafter. Kudos!

    BTW, I personally found that red miso pastes are very strong (maybe just the specific brand I bought) so I think next time I will be trying white miso and see how that goes.

    Thanks, inbaelee. Yes, do be careful of the miso. Spread it thinner, perhaps, or try the lighter styles. Thanks again – it is such a different dish that it always causes comment, and goes down really well with friends.

  9. i didn’t have time to run to the asian mart and wanted to make this (since i already have all the ingredients) so i used regular eggplant and it turned out a bit salty tasting. is using japanese eggplant a must, or did i do something else wrong to make it so salty? nonetheless, this recipe made my apartment smell great, and parts that were not salty tasted nice.

    this should be fine with ordinary eggplant, joanne. For me it has never been too salty. Maybe your miso paste is very very salty. Is it very old? Or maybe just a salty brand. I would use it much more thinly next time. I hope you get to experiment with it again.

  10. so i tried this recipe out again this weekend. this time i used more mirin and less miso paste … SO TASTY …yummy!! i really love it. simple, but great recipe =)

    Oh, that is so good. I am glad the story has a happy ending 🙂 .

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