This is a traditional Japanese nasu dengaku recipe you will fall in love with! Tender broiled eggplant slices brushed with a sweet and savory miso sauce – it’s simply irresistible and ready in just 15 minutes!
I used to have a lot of trouble cooking eggplant. No matter what I did to it, I never seemed to get it right!
It either had a mushy texture or was undercooked, with that awful spongy crunch. It wasn’t until I started perusing Japanese cookbooks that I learn amazing, no fail, ways to cook eggplant.
Today, I’m excited to share with you the delicious Japanese eggplant dish that finally broke the curse and turned me into an eggplant expert!
This nasu dengaku recipe was my first major success in cooking with eggplant, and boy is it a good one!
What is Nasu Dengaku?
Nasu Dengaku is a classic Japanese side dish made with eggplant sliced in half, scored and brushed with a sweet and savory miso sauce.
The translation literally means eggplant grilled over a fire, which is exactly how it’s done in Japan.
My version is a little different – I cook the eggplant halves for a few minutes in a skillet and finish them in a baking tray under a broiler, until the miso sauce caramelizes and bubbles.
The flavor is savory, smoky and sweet – with a toasted, nutty essence skirting around the edges. It’s SO good!
Ingredients for Nasu Dengaku
- Eggplant: When I make this dish, I like to use eggplant that are on the small side. They tend to be less bitter than larger eggplant. Male eggplants also tend to have fewer seeds. A good way to check the sex of an eggplant is to look at the bottom. Slimmer eggplants with a round indentation mark at the bottom tend to be male. Rounder eggplants with an indentation that is elongated tend to be female.
- Vegetable Oil: Any neutral flavored cooking oil will work well for this recipe.
- Miso Paste: Miso paste is the key ingredient in this miso eggplant dish. Miso paste is a fermented food that is made from soybeans, salt, and koji (a type of fungus). It has a salty, savory flavor that is perfect for this dish. Additionally, miso paste is a good source of probiotics, which are beneficial for gut health. I like to use white miso paste (shiro miso) or awase miso, which is a mixture of red and white miso paste. Learn all about miso paste here.
- Sugar: A little sugar adds a touch of sweetness without going over into cloying territory. And it also helps the sauce caramelize to perfection under the broiler.
- Mirin: This fermented rice wine rounds out the flavors in many Japanese dishes – and tempers some of the saltiness from the miso paste. It’s easy to find at your local Asian grocery store – or grab mirin on Amazon.
- Sake: Sake is a Japanese rice wine that is made from fermented rice. It has a dry, slightly bitter flavor that helps to balance out the sweetness of the mirin in this dish. Sake also contains amino acids, which can help add depth of flavor to the miso sauce.
- Sesame Seeds: Sprinkle a few white sesame seeds on your eggplant just before serving. You’ll love the toasted nuttiness!
Nasu dengaku is extremely flavorful on its own but can be topped with garnishes to add color and additional aromatics. Some of the most popular ones are:
- Chopped chives
- Shredded shiso leaves
- Fresh herbs such as basil or cilantro
How to make miso glazed Japanese eggplant
- Prepare the eggplant. Using a sharp knife, slice the eggplant in half, lengthwise. Then score the inside flesh of each half with a knife in a criss-cross pattern.
- Cook the eggplant. Get a pan going over over high heat and add your oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Place your eggplant halves in the pan with the cut side down. Cook for a few minutes until the skin begins to brown.
- Flip it! Next, flip the eggplant over and cook with a lid on the pan on for 3-4 minutes – until the eggplant is cooked through, and the inside flesh has browned.
- Make the miso glaze. Meanwhile, whisk your miso paste, sake, mirin and sugar together in a small bowl until you achieve a smooth consistency.
- Apply the sauce. Take your eggplant halves out of the pan – and place them on top of a foil lined baking sheet with the skin facing down. Brush each piece generously on top with the miso glaze.
- Broil the nasu dengaku. Place in the oven and broil for 4 minutes. The glaze on top should be bubbling.
- Serve. Top with sesame seeds and serve it immediately.
That’s it! So easy. The eggplant will be tender and cooked to perfection. And the flavor is out of this world!
A Tip On Cooking Eggplant
Halving and then scoring the inside of eggplant with a sharp knife will ensure that it cooks properly in the pan.
- The trick to scoring the eggplant is to cut the inside flesh in a criss-cross pattern – without cutting the outer skin. Watch the video on this page if you’re a visual learner (like me!).
Also, when pan frying, it’s a good idea to cook long enough that the flesh gets a decent amount of color on it – but not so long that it turns to mush. Remember, the final step of cooking is under the intense heat of the broiler in your oven.
What To Serve With Nasu Dengaku
Nasu dengaku is usually served as a side dish, but it can also be enjoyed as a main course. It can also be enjoyed hot or cold.
Serve it with a simple side of plain white rice as a main.
Or serve this as a side and easily pair it up with full flavored dishes like this savory Japanese Curry – this veggie studded Japanese fried rice – or this impossibly crispy baked chicken katsu.
Hey – how about making a simple side salad and topping it with this iconic Japanese restaurant style carrot and ginger dressing? You really can’t go wrong!
And check out these other delicious and easy eggplant recipes:
- Chinese Eggplant With Garlic Sauce
- Char Siu Style Roasted Eggplant
- Eggplant and Kabocha Miso Gratin
- Sauteed Eggplant With Spicy Miso Sauce
Did you like this Nasu Dengaku Recipe? Are there changes you made that you would like to share? Share your tips and recommendations in the comments section below!
Serve nasu dengaku with a side of Japanese rice. Watch our video on How To Make Japanese Rice the stove top or rice cooker method!Print
Nasu Dengaku – Miso Glazed Eggplant
A classic Japanese dish, nasu dengaku with miso glaze is both a sweet and savory.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: 2 people 1x
- Category: Appetizer, Side
- Method: Pan frying, broiling
- Cuisine: Japanese
- 2 small eggplant
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or other neutral oil
- 1/4 cup miso paste (I use awase miso which is a mix of both red and white miso paste)
- 2 tablespoons mirin
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon sake
- sesame seeds
- Slice eggplant in half and using a knife, score the inside in small squares.
- In a pan over high heat, add oil and put the eggplant skin facing down.
- Cook for a few minute until skin is brown. Turn the eggplant over and cover with a lid. Cook until eggplant is cooked through (about 3 to 4 minutes).
- Meanwhile, in a bowl, mix miso, mirin, sugar and sake.
- Cover a cooking tray with foil and place the eggplant on top. Brush miso dengaku mix on top of each eggplant until all the surface is coated.
- Put in the oven and broil for 4 minutes. The miso mix should be bubbling when you take it out of the oven.
- Sprinkle sesame seeds on top and serve hot.
Nasu dengaku is best served immediately.
- Serving Size: 1 eggplant
- Calories: 288
- Sugar: 15.6g
- Sodium: 92mg
- Fat: 15.8g
- Saturated Fat: 2g
- Unsaturated Fat: 5.7g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 27.9g
- Fiber: 4.3g
- Protein: 4.9g
- Cholesterol: 0mg
Keywords: Japanese miso eggplant
This recipe was pretty tasty. I was looking for ways to use up an eggplant I got and found this recipe with ingredients I mostly had (minus the sake.) I did turn out very sweet, if I were to make this again I might try less sugar.
This was so good. I didn’t have mirin so used rice vinegar and extra sugar (per an internet substitution recommendation) and it was absolutely delicious. Will definitely make again – with proper ingredients I’m sure it will be even better!!
Hi, so I was wondering if anyone’s made this without any sake or mirin as I don’t want to use any products with alcohol. If so, did you substitute with anything?
So yummy!! I’m a vegan who loves both miso and eggplant so thought this would be right up my alley, and it totally was. I didn’t have sake so used half a tablespoon of dry sherry and an extra half tablespoon of mirin instead, which worked well. Fresh coriander on top was great with this. Served it with sourdough, a green salad, and asparagus for a perfect spring dinner. Will definitely make this one again, maybe with the silken tofu and rice next time. Thank you for the recipe!
Thank you Sara! 🙂
Can you use white miso instead of a mix of red and white miso?
Hi Katie! Yes you can absolutely use white miso paste 🙂
Absolutely adored that recipe. The eggplants (I cooked 2) were incredible. So easy to make and so delicious! Thank you!
What can I use instead of sake?
Hi Pearl! You can use dry sherry or a dry white wine, but I would use half a tablespoon instead of a full one like the recipe calls for. Or you can use a little more mirin, preferably the real mirin that has alcohol in it. I hope this helps and I hope you enjoy this recipe! 🙂
This is exactly how I remember it from Japan. Such a quick and easy recipe and so delicious. Love it!
I’m so happy you liked this recipe, Annella! Thank you for sharing 🙂
Simple and easy but good.
I love this recipe! But I wanted to ask how I could try this recipe with Chinese eggplant instead?
Hi Courtney! Yes, you can use Chinese eggplant as well 🙂
I was wondering what substitute you could what could be a substitute for the sake? It seems like an ingredient that I would use only once.
Hi Tallulah, you can use mirin instead or omit it 🙂
Great recipe, but I wonder what you’d combine this with… I love the format of a dinner made of a bunch of smaller side dishes, rice, soup, etc, so I wonder if you have any recommendations of which other dishes would go well with this?
Hi Natalia! I personally love serving nasu dengaku with a side of silken tofu (look for the hiyayakko recipe on my blog), a Japanese spinach salad (also on my blog), rice, and pickles 🙂
Hi, I actually made Karage Pork and Japanese mushrooms with it. Delicious!
I’ve attempted to make miso aubergine a few times, but this recipe got it spot on. I used a huge aubergine and left it under the grill for a bit too long, but oh boy it was absolutely delicious!
So simple, yet so delicious!
This made the perfect easy and light dinner with a little jasmine rice. Thank you! I used Korean doenjang instead of miso because that’s what I had, but I will definitely try it agin when I restock miso and I bet it will be even better.
Super easy to make, super tasty. Thanks for this great recipe and also the male vs female eggplant tip!
Made the Nasu Dengaku and it was a knock out. Many years ago, I would order this dish at a Japanese restaurant and have always wanted to make it myself. The miso glaze was just the right sweetness. It’s on our dinner plan for next week.
I’m sure this recipe is great…. I just have no idea what I did wrong. The miso on the top was so bitter and salty! I followed everything except instead of sake I used a cooking wine. Is that where I went wrong?? Help me 🙁
Hi Heather, it could be the cooking wine (sake has a mild and sweet flavor) or the miso paste. Can you tell me what brand of miso paste you used and if it was red or white?
Really tasty. I could only find large eggplants so I sliced them into 3rds.
Also, my sauce was a little thick so I added another Tbs of sake (and maybe some for the cook)
This looks great! Could I panfry them in advance and put them to the side to broil later?
Hi Harriet! Yes you can do that but make sure to dab off the extra moisture before applying the glaze as eggplants tend to get mushy and watery the longer they sit there.
Can’t wait to try this tonight! What’s a good main dish to pair this with?
Hi Aileen! Nasu dengaku is very flavorful so I like to serve it with a simple bowl of rice on the side and other veggie sides and pickles 🙂
This worked great!
Super easy to make and delicious!! I was really surprised at how fast this was. I love ordering this at restaurants and now I can make it at home , thanks so much Caroline!
My son sent me this link knowing I love eggplant. I made it last night for the family and discerning Chinese visitors. A great success. We could have eaten twice the amount I cooked. Even the brother in law who doesn’t like eggplant enjoyed it.
That’s wonderful Sue, thank you for sharing your story! 🙂
So easy and so yummy!!! I also mixed red and white miso and it was delish.
Thank you Martha! 🙂
Hi, Caroline! We love trying your food; it’s way better than take out! What do you usually serve with this dish for sides? Thanks for your help!
Just saw the suggestions as I had skipped to the recipe. Thank you!
Thanks Sandy! 🙂
Hey there, thank you for this amazing recipe. I just have red miso can still use it? Should I add a bit more sugar?
Hi Lavinia! Try using 3 tablespoons instead of 4 and keep the rest of the recipe the same. Let me know how it turns out! 🙂
This was so yummy!! I only had miso and mirin, but the sauce was still delicious. Will definitely make this again.
Tried this and loved it!
Just made this dish after eating it at Jin Sho restaurant in Palo Alto. Tasted almost identical without the high price tag. Thanks so much. My whole family loved it!!!
That’s so wonderful Corinna, I’m so happy you liked it! 🙂
Amazing! This recipe was so easy and insanely delicious. It’s now going to be in my regular rotation!
Amazing! Great idea to pan fry first-really makes a huge difference. And the marinade is perfect! I have tried so many others. Now I can stop looking. Thank you so much for sharing this!
Thank you Julia! 🙂
My bf said “this is so good” not once, but 5 times. So easy to make too!
Only recommendation is to let the eggplant sweat by salting it & letting it sit. This takes out some of the bitterness.
Really good aubergines, i didn’t have mirin nor sake. So i made my own variation of the recipe and we loved it : miso, siracha, agave sirup and balsamico vinegar.
Thank you Sophie for sharing! 🙂
Amazing! I may never make eggplant any other way ever again.
love this recipe…Lat time I made it with baby aubergines which turned out to fantastic..thank you
Love, just like real in Japan
Thank you so much Himo! 🙂
Just stopped by to say I loved your recipe and the tip to cook the eggplant before putting it in the oven! Turned out perfect! I had no saké so I used more mirin, it turned out delicious! Thank you!
Thank you so much Eva, I’m so happy you liked the dish! 🙂
When I put it in the oven to broil near the end, what temperature should I have the oven at?
Hi Sean, the broil setting usually has no temperature but a flame should come on in your oven. If yours does I’m not sure how high or low it should be, just keep an eye on the glaze and take it out when it’s caramelized and bubbly 🙂
This is so easy and quick to make. DELICIOUS! I didn’t have sake so just added a little water. My husband came home late so I had it all ready sauteed, coated with the miso paste and on a baking sheet, and when he arrived I popped it under the broiler. He loved it. Tonight I’ll try it again using the red wine we have, until we can get some sake. Thank you !
What type of sake / brand do you think is best for this recipe? I know so many sakes have different flavors.
Hi Jordyn, I use Morita cooking sake but Kikkoman would also work https://www.amazon.com/Kikkoman-Ryorishi-Cooking-Seasoning-33-8-Ounce/dp/B0046H3ABY Any type of cooking sake is good 🙂
Made this tonight in preparation for a special dinner party coming up. Oh my gosh – so delicious! This recipe is a keeper – special enough for entertaining and easy enough for a week night dinner.
That’s wonderful Jane! It’s one of my favorites so I’m happy you enjoyed it! 🙂
I just made this but slightly modified. Didn’t have mirin so i used rice vinegar and instead of sake used cherry wine. It was super delicious though. Thank you¡ please post more vegan recipes! Its hard to find vegan asian recipes online and i loved your mapo tofu recipe and this one too!
Hello there! I’ve been looking at, and downloading recipes from your blog feverishly this afternoon, as there are so many that sound delish…
You suggest ‘Awase’ miso paste, as it is a combination of red and white miso.
I have a tub of a medium golden coloured miso ( no specific name on it, just says ‘MISO’), and a tub of ‘ ‘Organic Red Miso’ in the fridge. Can I use a bit of those 2 mixed for the recipes you suggest the ‘Awase’miso for, or should I high tail it back to the store ?
Hi Carole, you can mix both, no need to get a new tub 🙂 You could even just use one or the other but I personally prefer the Awase kind.
I found your recipe via a random Google search and made it last night. It’s SO GOOD! Thank you
I made this today for new year and it was fantastic. Thanks for the recipe!
I am planning to make this this weekend for a rice bowl dinner party (choose your own adventure kind of meal). Can I avoid buying sake and use white wine or something else in my cupboard? And can I get some time out of the way by cooking the eggplant on the stove, setting aside for a 1-3 hours, then finishing the recipe by putting it in the oven, probably for an extra few minutes?
Hi Nickie, you can use white wine but I would recommend sticking to sake if you can since it has such a distinct taste that’s so Japanese. For a time saver, cook the eggplant halfway through (only side), not all the way since they will get watery and loose their shape. This way you can shave off a few minutes of cooking time. Have a fun party!
This recipe is so easy to make and is delicious. I boiled down the marinade to make it a thicker glaze and it was delicious!
Thank you for recipe)
I love this!!! Make it almost weekly now. Thank you 🙂
Silly question but still do you eat the skin? And in general, how do you eat this with a fork or with a spoon? I intend to try it tonight and hope family will like it. Thanks!
Hi Galina, yes you can eat the skin – it’s delicious! I eat it with chopsticks but any type of utensil is fine for this dish. I hope you like it! 🙂
I just made and ate this with a few entirely wrong ingredients! But, I loved it so much! I used the correct miso, then added a tablespoon of sesame oil and a tablespoon of shaoxing rice wine and a tablespoon of sushi vinegar, no sugar. It was absolutely delicious with rice and thin green beans. I didn’t have all the right things and couldn’t wait to make it! I will make it again and again, thank you so much.
Thank you Lisa! Do you remember the measurements you used for your recipe? I’d love to try it!
Aubergines fried like you did:
1 Tblspn Sesame Oil
1 Tblspn Shaoxing rice wine
2 Tblspns Sushi vinegar.
That’s the mixture to paint on, broil, sprinkle with seeds……. Swoon! Thanks again.
Wow, this looks amazing! I can imagine how soft and sticky that is. I LOVE eggplants in any form, I could eat them at least once a week, unfortunately nobody in my family can understand this love:(
Still I am perseverent and try to ignore the negativity with the hope that if I offer them that often enough, someday they will get used to it and actually enjoy it. I sometimes think eggplants are like coffee or olives – an acquired taste: it might be weird at first, but once you get the taste, you will adore it.
Making perfect eggplant dish can be tricky. My main problem is that sometimes it looses its perfect moisture, but I’m trying since I love this crazy vegetable, and I will definitely try nasu dengaku – I bet it tastes as good as it sounds like 🙂
Jasmin, I agree, making good eggplant can be very tricky! This is an easy, almost no fail way to make it so that it’s perfectly cooked! I even make eggplant parmesan that way 🙂
Wow! I was worried the eggplant wouldn’t get soft enough in so little time but it was perfect.
Vivian, the first time I made this I thought the same thing! But it’s a great way to quickly cook eggplant. I tried it with tomato sauce and parmesan cheese and it was also very yummy!
I just tried this recipe for my and my mother! She’s not a huge fan of Asian cuisine in general but she really liked this. She found it a bit sweet (which might’ve been my fault for using more sugar than necessary) but I count it as a huge success nevertheless! Thank you for this recipe!
This recipe can be a little sweet for some people, I know what you mean and I also sometimes add less sugar than what the recipe calls for depending on how sweet I want my dinner to be that day. So glad to hear she liked it!
I’ve made this several times and love it no question but I have one note to make: who measures miso in cups? Now since most of the readers here are began too one would assume that they would have a scale to message it in grams which is much much more convenient. Anyway that’s just what I think. 🙂 no hard feelings since I see this in many blogs
Weighing ingredients is so much easier and doesn’t waste the ingredient in the measuring jug
Just made it for dinner!! Fantastic!!! All polished off, even Nica who doesn’t usually like eggplant, loved it! I only wish that we had some leftover for tomorrow. Thank you so sharing such great Japanese recipe!!!
I learn so much from you!
Thank you Carmen! So happy to hear Nica loved it too, this means it’s also kid friendly 🙂
Nommm…. This looks delicious! Love the char on the eggplants! I have 3 eggplants at home now. This would be a great way to use them.
Hi Lokness, I hope you enjoy the recipe, it’s very easy and so delicious! I read on your blog you grew up in Hong Kong? I lived there for 3 years, love the city and the food! I miss eating curry at Chunking Mansion 🙂
Yes, I grew up in HK. It is so cool that you lived there for a while. I absolutely love the food in there and I miss it all the time. I have passed by Chunking Mansion many times, but never been in there. I really should!