This traditional Japanese dish is a popular appetizer. The miso paste matches perfectly with the eggplants, making you want to eat more!

All About the Japanese Eggplant

The Japanese Eggplant (nasu) comes into season in Japan around September, and it is a staple of the fall and early winter culinary scene. Differing from the American style eggplant (bei nasu) in both size and taste, Japanese eggplants are slender and dark purple. This dark purple color is due to thal-vee presence of a powerful antioxidant, known as nasunin, which has similar properties to the other purple anthocyanin antioxidants found in berries.

While Nasu Dengaku is usually a side dish, the Japanese eggplant it contains is so hearty that it can also serve as the base for a vegetarian main dish. There are many ways to do this. But pan frying tends to bring out the best flavors and give the eggplant a meaty texture. Check out our recipe for fried eggplant salad for more ideas on how to incorporate Japanese eggplant into your meals.

Cooking Tips:

  • You can use any kind of miso to make Miso Dengaku. But keep in mind that red miso has more flavor and imparts more color to the glaze. Before getting started, check out our guide to basic Japanese condiments like mirin and miso to find out what makes them different.
  • Miso Dengaku is usually made with sugar for sweetness. However, our recipe uses mirin to add a more mellow and smooth taste. For a sweeter version, add a teaspoon or two of sugar or honey.

Substitution Guide:

Daikon Radish/ Konnyaku – Cut and boil daikon radish and konnyaku. Add the miso sauce to make daikon/ konnyaku miso dengaku.

Tofu – Making tofu miso dengaku is similar to eggplant dengaku. You cut the tofu, pat dry, and cook both sides on the frying pan. Then add the miso sauce.

Nasu Dengaku (Miso-glazed Eggplant)

Course Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine Japanese


  • 1 Small Size Eggplant
  • 1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • White Sesame Seeds, for garnishing



  1. Cut the stalk off the eggplant, and cut eggplant vertically in half. If too thick, slice them into about 1 inch thick slices.
  2. Place eggplants in a frying pan and drizzle with oil.
  3. Cover the pan with a lid and cook over medium heat. Flip sides.
  4. Mix together the seasonings in a small bowl and heat it in a microwave for 2 minutes. Take the bowl out and mix a little, and microwave for another 2 minutes.
  5. Place the cooked eggplants on a plate. Pour the seasonings and sprinkle sesame seeds.