Nasu Dengaku {Miso Eggplant}

nasu dengaku (miso broiled eggplant) / nasu dengaku (miso broiled eggplant) /

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.

nasu dengaku (miso broiled eggplant) /

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.

nasu dengaku (miso broiled eggplant) /

I fell in love with this dish in Kyoto – definitely an all time favorite!

nasu dengaku

Serves: serves 2-4
  • japanese or chinese eggplant
  • a little bit of olive oil
  • chopped scallions
  • sesame seeds
for the glaze:
  • ¼ cup white or yellow miso paste
  • ¼ cup mirin
  • ¼ cup organic cane sugar (sometimes I use a bit less)
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. 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."
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
Regular white sugar is fine, if that's what you have.

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.


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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. amanda from

    Yummmmm. Thanks, now I know what I’m having for dinner tomorrow night (and for the opportunity to make a bit of a dent in the container of miso living in my fridge!)

  2. Susan

    I loved Kyoto…only visited once, but such a beautiful city. A shame I didn’t appreciate vegetables as much then. This was delicious. I also sliced a sweet potato which is equally delicious with this glaze. I’m starting to really enjoy this vegan lifestyle!

  3. I just saw your Nasu Dengaku picture (pin) on my Asian Food group board and got excited to find your blog! I love Nasu Dengaku and make it all the time! Yours are beautifully prepared and I really love your photography. I’m so happy you like visiting Japan (I read in your About page). 🙂

  4. i have started to really enjoy eggplants and always run out of ideas with it. Miso glaze sounds soo good. Thanks for the recipe and other ideas.

  5. This is one of the greastest ways of preparing eggplant. I am sucker for the dips and curries that use egg plant, but nothing beats this grilled and smoked flavour with salty sweet . I not sure about the comment on being vegan in Japan, when I was there I went meat free by accident because I was eating so much beans and tofu.

    • jeanine

      I know, it’s one of my favorite things ever!

      Oh yes, we had tons of tofu and healthy veggie foods… I just observed that it would be a little hard to be strictly vegetarian (which I’m not), because there are fish/meat where you can’t necessarily see it – bonito in dashis, lard on griddles, pork broths etc. But I think I’ll just delete that comment because I didn’t mean that to be a negative reflection about Japan. All and all, they have probably the healthiest diet possible and obviously I am obsessed with it 🙂

  6. This looks so delicious. I am always on the hunt for new eggplant recipes to try!

  7. Katrine from

    Yummi – eggplants are so tasteful! – This recipe looks really good.

  8. I will “dengaku” anything that walks through the kitchen door. I’m not joking.

    One of my fave spots in SF serves an eggplant steak with miso-walnut paste that I’ve been trying to replicate…

    • jeanine

      ha! so glad there’s another dengaku lover here 🙂

  9. Ginger from

    I’ve been looking for just such a recipe. I gathered up a sweet little collection of small eggplants from the farmers market and I think this will be the perfect way to enjoy them. Thanks for sharing!

    • jeanine

      it’s perfect with small eggplants, I hope you like it!

  10. Tieghan from

    So pretty!! I need to try this and branch out a bit! Thanks for the push!

  11. I absolutely love aubergine! I often just roast them with a bit of olive oil and some dried herbs, but what a great alternative! Especially to satisfy my asian food cravings! x

  12. I love that you serve this dish right in the skin!!! It is such a beautiful and simple presentation. I definitely need to incorporate more asian flavors into my cooking. I can’t wait to see what other fun stuff you cook up inspired by your trip.

  13. dana from

    I want to have a one night stand with this recipe. GORGEOUS

  14. Jordan from

    Looks delicious! I’ll definitely have to try it.

    Also, it’s not hard to be a veggie or vegan in Tokyo, just requires some forward planning!

    • jeanine

      oh of course… I didn’t mean to come across as negative as it might have sounded. We just loved Tokyo, and you’re right, it would just take some planning. I didn’t seek out veggie restaurants specifically, so I was surprised once or twice. It also might have helped if we could speak/read japanese better 🙂

  15. grace from

    What a beautiful dish – almost too pretty to eat.. almost.

  16. What an awesome way to score the eggplants! & I love the Japanese inspired simplicity & taste. Looks delicious.

    • jeanine

      thanks, this recipe can look real ugly, so I was trying what I could to make it look presentable enough to post!

  17. sandra from

    this looks so delicious I think I’ll try it this weekend. where do you get your mirin?

    • jeanine

      whole foods or any nicer grocery store will have it – it’s in the section with the soy sauces and the rice vinegars. Asian markets will definitely have it. (thanks for this comment, I updated the post to include this info!)

      • Hi, Jeanine
        I’m very happy that you share japanese recipe, and this recipe and photo looks really delicious. I’m getting hungry…

        Hi, Sandra
        One advice from Japanese kitchen,
        when I’m out of mirin, I use [sake(1/4 cup) + sugar(1 Tablespoon)] instead. 
        I’m sorry… I’m presumptuous.

        • jeanine

          Hi Natsuko,

          Thank you for sharing the tip – wonderful to know!

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.