If you need a reason to try (and love) miso, this is your recipe. I’m hoping eggplant is still in season where you are. I was excited to find these little nearly-black beauties at our farmers market last weekend. If you don’t have eggplant, this sweet & salty glaze is amazing on cod, tofu, and even sweet potatoes.
There are many variations to the dengaku recipe – some use sake along with mirin, some add a bit of ginger… I’ve even made it with agave syrup before (although that would probably not be approved by the Japanese, shh).
I like this version – it’s 1/4 cup of just 3 ingredients: miso, mirin (japanese sweet cooking wine) & sugar. It’s easy to remember without having to refer back to a recipe, and you can alter it however you like from there.
I fell in love with this dish in Kyoto – definitely an all time favorite!
- japanese or chinese eggplant
- a little bit of olive oil
- chopped scallions
- sesame seeds
- ¼ cup white or yellow miso paste
- ¼ cup mirin
- ¼ cup organic cane sugar (sometimes I use a bit less)
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Slice your eggplant in half, arrange on a baking sheet and gently score the surface of the flesh. Brush with a little bit of olive oil and pre-bake your eggplant for a few minutes until the flesh starts to become tender. (8 mintues or so, depending on the size of your eggplant). Remove eggplant from the oven and turn your oven temp to "broil."
- Meanwhile, make the glaze. In a small saucepan, combine the miso, mirin and sugar and bring to a gentle simmer. Whisk continuously until the sugar has dissolved and the glaze starts to thicken (2 minutes or so - barely bubbling). Remove from heat and let it cool (and continue to thicken) for a few minutes. Note - if you taste it at this point, it'll seem VERY salty - it will sweeten once the sugars caramelize on the eggplant under the broiler.
- Liberally brush the glaze onto the eggplant. Broil until brown & bubbling (about 5-8 minutes). The amount of time will vary depending on the size of your eggplant and the strength of your broiler. Check after about 3 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and garnish with chopped scallions and sesame seeds. If your eggplants are larger with tougher skin, scoop and eat just the flesh. These (pictured) were tiny and tender enough to eat with the skin.
I used 4 small eggplants here (8 halves), and used about half of the glaze. Double (or use larger ones) if you want more.
Store extra glaze in the fridge for up to a week. You can use this same method on tofu or cod, adjust cooking times accordingly.
You should be able to find miso & mirin pretty easily at any grocery store that has a decent enough international section. The miso in the refrigerated section near the tofu. Mirin should be in the asian aisle near the soy sauces and rice vinegars.