If you think that incredible flavour requires a long cooking time, this grilled/broiled miso glazed aubergine/eggplant (otherwise known as Nasu Dengaku) will prove you wrong. This has to be one of my favourite vegetarian dishes because its soft, buttery, and umami deliciousness blows me away every time.
It's a versatile dish that I make often because it's quick, simple, and doesn't require a large number of costly ingredients. I've often grabbed an aubergine on my way home from work on days where dinner plans have seen unexpected changes, or I've just been too disorganised to make any in the first place.
I always top my miso-glazed aubergine with sesame seeds, spring onions/scallions, and nori strips. I urge you to do the same because these crunchy toppings complement the buttery smooth aubergine and add additional nutty, tangy and fresh flavours that really take it to another level.
Key ingredients and possible alternatives
- Aubergines/eggplant - I slice mine vertically into quarters so they cook faster and are easier to eat with chopsticks.
- Miso paste - is brushed onto the partially cooked aubergine/eggplant and provides the deep savoury and umami flavour. I use a Shiro miso, but other types will work well too.
- Brown sugar - adds a little sweetness to the miso glaze. I use brown sugar because it has a richer more caramelised sweetness but you can also use white sugar.
- Mirin - calms the saltiness of the miso. You should be able to find it in your local supermarket. If not Asian grocery stores will stock it or you can buy it online.
- Toasted sesame seeds - add a nutty crunchiness.
- Spring onions/scallions - add a tangy freshness that contrasts nicely with the savoury taste and sweetness of the miso glaze.
- Nori strips - add a crispness that complements the soft silky smoothness of the grilled aubergine/eggplant.
How to make miso glazed aubergine
1. Prepare the aubergines/eggplant
Set your grill/broiler to its highest heat. Cut the stems off the aubergines, slice vertically into quarters, and score each slice in a diamond cross pattern. Brush the inside of each slice with oil.
2. Grill with the outsides facing upwards and make the miso glaze
Place the aubergine/eggplant slices onto your grill pan with the shiny, black outsides facing upwards and brush them with oil. Place them into the middle of the grill/broiler for 4-5 minutes until you see their skins begin to crease a little.
3. Make the miso glaze
Mix the miso paste, mirin, sugar, and water together in a small bowl and set aside.
4. Turn them over and add the miso glaze
Remove the grill pan, turn the aubergine/eggplant slices over so the scored insides are facing upwards and brush each piece generously with the miso glaze. Return it to the grill/broiler for 2-3 more minutes until the insides of the aubergine/eggplant start to brown. Remove from the grill/broiler and serve immediately.
Tools and Equipment
- Small bowl - for mixing the miso glaze ingredients.
- Brush - for adding oil and the miso glaze to the aubergine slices.
- Sharp knife - for scoring the aubergines
- Grill pan - I always cook the aubergine/eggplant on my grill/broil pan. You can place a sheet of foil on top if you want to save on washing up.
Top tips for perfect miso glazed aubergine/eggplant
- Score the aubergine/eggplant as deeply as you can - this enables the miso glaze to get down into the slits and work its delicious umami flavour into the whole aubergine/eggplant.
- Brush the aubergine/eggplant slices generously with the miso glaze - ensure you add plenty of the glaze to each aubergine slice so it sinks into the diamond pattern scores.
- Don't skip the toppings - these add tasty contrasting flavours and textures that take the deliciously, soft and umami infused grilled aubergines/eggplants to the next level.
You can store the cooked miso glazed aubergine/eggplant in the fridge for up to 3 days. Make sure you cover it or put it into an airtight container and wait for it to cool first.
It's not advisable because aubergine/eggplant has a high water content so will not freeze well.
It is a Japanese term for a food that has been miso glazed or grilled. Nasu Dengaku is the Japanese term for miso glazed aubergine.
Generally, yes, but make sure you check the ingredients and avoid any containing dashi stock because it contains fish flakes.
It is salty and filled with umami flavour and also has a gentle sweet taste.