Miso-Glazed Japanese Eggplant

5 from 1 vote

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Long, slender halves of Japanese eggplant with a pungent, potent, slightly sweet, salty umami sauce and cooked to a melting tenderness.

Japanese Miso Eggplant

This simple Japanese eggplant dish is not only delicious but holds an odd nostalgic place in my heart. It’s baked to a creamy softness with a simple glaze of sauce made of miso paste, mirin, sesame oil, and a bit of ginger and vinegar. While it’s absolutely wonderful as an appetizer, it’s also great as a side dish or even a vegetarian main served with white rice.

I have a whole category of Japanese restaurant memories spanning from my young adulthood to the present. Some of the restaurants I have loved are high-end (thanks, Mom and Dad), some have been super casual and fairly cheap (all-you-can-eat at Yuka, which is still on the Upper East Side), and there has been everything in between.

I first tried this eggplant dish at a wonderful (rest in peace) restaurant called Tatany in NYC. It was one of the first places I experienced high-end Japanese food as a college student and realized that there was a whole world of Japanese food beyond sushi. (And that there was a world of sushi that did not come in clamshell containers.)

The sushi was amazing, but it’s this vegan eggplant dish that I remember with great love. Long, slender halves of Japanese eggplant were dotted with a pungent, potent, slightly sweet, salty umami (I was years from knowing what the word umami meant) sauce and cooked to a melting tenderness. The smell alone was amazing. I never went back to that restaurant without ordering this dish. And I finally created my home version.

Japanese Miso Eggplant on a white plate.

But here is the craziest part — a few years back, I joined a Japanese pottery studio in NYC. The owner, Risa Nishimori, told me that her father had been a Japanese restauranteur. And guess which restaurant he owned…my heart and mind almost burst.

This would be great with Takikomi Gohan with Chicken, a salad with Japanese restaurant dressing, or Vegetable Yaki Udon. Leftovers are great chopped up and added to vegetable fried rice.

Japanese Miso Eggplant: Long slender halves of Japanese eggplant are baked to a melting tenderness with a slightly sweet and salty sauce rich in umami flavor.

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Roasted Japanese Miso Eggplant on baking sheet.

Miso-Glazed Japanese Eggplant Ingredients

  • Japanese eggplant – You could also try this with thick slices of globe eggplant.
  • Miso paste – White or yellow, which are the milder varieties.
  • Mirin or sakeMirin is a slightly sweet low-alcohol rice wine (or you can use regular sake).
  • Sesame oil – Adds a toasty, nutty flavor.
  • Soy sauce
  • Rice or white wine vinegar – Adds a bit of acidity.
  • Sesame seeds and sliced scallions – For garnish, adding color and texture.

How to Make Miso-Glazed Japanese Eggplant

  1. Cut the eggplant: Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Cut the eggplant down the middle the long way so you have two long flat halves for each.
  2. Roast the eggplant: Place the eggplant cut side up on the baking sheet. Brush the cut sides of the eggplant lightly with the oil. Roast the eggplant for about 25 minutes, until very tender and lightly browned on the top. Remove the eggplant, and change the oven setting to broil.
Roasted eggplant on baking sheet.
  1. Make the miso glaze: Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the miso, ginger, sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar, and pepper.
  2. Glaze the eggplant and roast: Brush the mixture evenly over the top of the roasted eggplant. Sprinkle over the sesame seeds. Return the baking sheet to the oven and broil for about 4 minutes, until the tops are browned in spots along with the sesame seeds; watch carefully to make sure they don’t get too brown.
Brushing miso glaze on Japanese eggplant slices then roasting.
  1. Serve: Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the scallions if desired (which I forgot to do for these photos). Serve hot or warm.
Japanese Miso Eggplant on a white plate with fish, salad, and potatoes.

What to Serve With Japanese Miso Eggplant

Plate of Japanese Miso Eggplant, fish, potato, and salad.

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5 from 1 vote

Miso-Glazed Japanese Eggplant

Long, slender halves of Japanese eggplant with a pungent, potent, slightly sweet, salty umami sauce and cooked to a melting tenderness.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4 people
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Ingredients 

  • 1 ½ pounds Japanese eggplant (about 5 eggplants)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, canola oil, or grapeseed oil
  • cup miso paste (white or yellow)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon mirin (or sake; optional)
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon rice or white wine vinegar
  • Freshly ground pepper (to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • Thinly sliced scallions (white and green parts; for optional garnish)

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Cut the eggplant down the middle the long way, so you have two long flat halves for each.
  • Place the eggplant cut side up on the baking sheet. Brush the cut sides of the eggplant lightly with the oil. Roast the eggplant for about 25 minutes, until very tender and lightly browned on the top. Remove the eggplant, and change the oven setting to broil.
  • Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the miso, ginger, mirin, sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar, and pepper. Brush the mixture evenly over the top of the roasted eggplant. Sprinkle over the sesame seeds. Return the baking sheet to the oven and broil for about 4 minutes, until the tops are browned in spots along with the sesame seeds; watch carefully to make sure they don’t get too brown.
  • Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the scallions if desired (which I forgot to do for these photos). Serve hot or warm.

Notes

Leftovers are great chopped up and added to vegetable fried rice. Mirin is a slightly sweet low-alcohol rice wine (or you can use regular sake).

Nutrition

Calories: 157kcal, Carbohydrates: 18g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Sodium: 859mg, Potassium: 456mg, Fiber: 7g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 59IU, Vitamin C: 4mg, Calcium: 67mg, Iron: 2mg
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About Katie Workman

Katie Workman is a cook, a writer, a mother of two, an activist in hunger issues, and an enthusiastic advocate for family meals, which is the inspiration behind her two beloved cookbooks, Dinner Solved! and The Mom 100 Cookbook.

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2 Comments

  1. Trey says:

    In the directions you mention soy sauce, but it is not listed in the ingredients. How much soy sauce?
    I tried this recipe and my eggplant turned out a lot drier than expected, with chewy skin. The marinade did not seep into the eggplant like it does when you braise it in a pan. Perhaps my eggplants were old.

    1. Katie Workman says:

      1 teaspoon, so sorry! And yes, maybe the eggplants weren’t at their freshest- I hope they turn out better next time!