Nasu Dengaku (Miso Eggplant)
Dengaku is a method of Japanese cooking using miso on top of grilled items, like vegetables or tofu. Nasu dengaku is grilled eggplant coated with a sweet miso glaze. Though it's so simple, when it's done well, it can be absolutely delicious.
Recipe note: If you can't find Japanese eggplants, you can make this with regular bulbous American eggplants, Chinese eggplants (also slender), or the in-between Italian eggplants.
- 2 Japanese eggplants (slender, thin skinned and more delicate in flavor) - substitute American eggplants or Italian eggplants
- 5 tbsp red miso, sweet white miso, or a combination of the two
- 1 1/2 tbsp mirin
- 1 1/2 tbsp sugar
- 1 1/2 tbsp sake
- 5 tbsp dashi (or fish/kelp stock)
- 1 tsp ginger juice
- sesame oil
- whole sesame seeds, roasted
- Slice the stem off the eggplants and slice in half. If you are using American eggplants, cut into discs. Italian eggplants are usually thin enough to prepare the same way as Japanese eggplants. Score the cut-side of the eggplants diagonally and then coat with sesame oil.
- Turn the oven on broil. (The traditional preparation of this dish is to grill the eggplants, however I broil them since it's easier. You can also fry the eggplants as well).
- Now, as you wait for the oven to heat, prepare the sauce: in a small saucepan, mix the miso, mirin, sugar, sake, dashi and finally the ginger juice over low heat. Mix well, then remove from heat and put in the refrigerator to cool.
- Place the eggplants on a cooking sheet and broil for 5 minutes or so. Poke to make sure the entire thing is quite tender. Remove from the oven.
- Spread the cooled miso paste on top of each eggplant half, then put back into the oven for just about one minute. Monitor closely and place just long enough so the miso gets some broiling action. Remove, sprinkle with roasted sesame seeds and serve hot.
Serving Size: 3-4
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Preparation Time: 30 minutes